Select Committee on European Union Ninth Report

Article 13: The coordination of economic policies

1.  The Union shall coordinate the economic policies of the Member States, in particular by establishing broad guidelines for these policies.

2.  The Member States shall conduct their economic policies, taking account of the common interest, so as to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Union.

3.  Specific provisions shall apply to those Member States which have adopted the euro.

Explanatory note

"While, for those Member States which have adopted the euro, monetary policy falls within the exclusive competence of the Union, the economic policies of the Member States remain within the competence of the latter, in accordance with the conclusions of Mr Haensch's Working Group.

In this area Union competence consists in coordinating national policies. In view of the importance of such coordination the Praesidium considered that it merited a separate Article."


71.  Article 13(1) is not new and can be traced back to Article 99 TEC, which requires Member States to regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern and to "co-ordinate them within the Council". Article 99(2) TEC empowers the Council to formulate broad guidelines for those policies. The main change is therefore that under the Constitution it would be the Union which would coordinate economic policies rather than the Member States doing so within the Council. Depending on how Part Two of the new Treaty allocates responsibilities between the Institutions, this would not appear to involve any major change.

72.  Similarly Article 13(2) appears to derive from Article 98 TEC ("Member States shall conduct their economic policies with a view to contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Community, as defined in Article 2 [TEC], and in the context of the broad guidelines referred to in Article 99(2) [TEC]"). Whether "taking account of the common interest" under the new Article 13(2) will be distinguishable from regarding economic policies as a matter of common concern as required by Article 99 TEC might be a debating point and at first sight seems unlikely to be of any significance in practice.

73.  Article 13 is factually accurate and implies that some States may continue as Members of the Union without adopting the euro. This is a helpful clarification of the status quo. It is implicitly reinforced by Article 11(1), which states that the Union shall have exclusive competence in relation to the "monetary policy for the Members States who have adopted the euro".

Article 14: The common foreign and security policy

1.  Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union's interests or likely to undermine its effectiveness.

Explanatory note

"This Article seeks to identify Member States' specific obligations in exercising their competences in this area."


74.  Article 14 is similar to Article 11 TEU. The main difference is that now Member States should support the Union's "common foreign and security policy", rather than the Union's "external and security policy". It is not clear whether the meaning is identical or whether it signifies a broadening of scope. Article 10(4) makes clear that the term includes a common defence policy. The second sentence has been simplified (current Article 11 reads: "… likely to impair its effectiveness as a cohesive force in international relations"). The reference to Member States working together "to enhance and develop their mutual political solidarity" has been dropped. But this wording may appear in the specific CFSP section.

75.  Though the new wording is broadly similar to existing Treaty Articles, we are concerned that the new Treaty structure (seemingly collapsing the current three Pillars into one) should not fundamentally change the nature of, and the extent of Member States' obligations in respect of, the CFSP. The new Treaty might give the impression that authority in these matters derives from the Constitution and not from the Member States. We will pursue with the Government the case that CFSP should remain intergovernmental. Further, we will carefully scrutinise the wording of all the new CFSP Articles. The obligation for Member States to "actively and unreservedly support" the CFSP will presumably in practice be qualified by the requirement for unanimity before CFSP measures are taken. However, recent events focus attention on the strength and potential width of the commitment contained in Article 14 as well as the strategic and budgetary implications.

Article 15: Areas for supporting action

1.  The Union may take coordinating, complementary or supporting action. The scope of this competence is determined by the provisions of Part Two.

2.  The areas for supporting action are:

¾  employment

¾  industry

¾  education, vocational training and youth

¾  culture

¾  sport

¾  protection against disasters

3.  The Member States shall coordinate their national employment policies within the Union.

4.  Legally binding acts adopted by the Union on the basis of the provisions specific to these areas in Part Two cannot entail harmonisation of Member States' laws or regulations.

Explanatory note

"As in the case of shared competences, the reference to Part Two is to indicate that the extent and intensity of Union competence in each area are determined by the specific provisions of that Part and to ensure that there are no changes as compared with the current situation other than those expressly decided on by the Convention.

The inclusion of "sport" and "protection against disasters" in the list of areas for supporting action follows on from the conclusions of Mr Christophersen's Group and involves the creation of a specific legal basis for those two areas in Part Two, given that there is no such basis in the current Treaties (thus far acts in the area of civil protection have been adopted on the basis of Article 308)."


76.  The EC Treaty already envisages coordinating or supporting action on employment (Articles 125-130), industry (Article 157), education, vocational training and youth (Articles 149 and 150) and culture (Article 151).

77.  Employment in this context, it appears, would be given the widest interpretation but be limited to those matters referred to in Article 125-130. "Employment", in the broad sense, may also be covered by economic policy (where there is a separate obligation to coordinate policies—see Article 13) and the provisions on social policy (currently Articles 136-145 TEC), in particular Article 137 TEC which enables supporting and complementary action in a range of matters affecting workers, the work place and the labour market. It may be difficult to distinguish between, and keep separate, what is an "employment" and what is a "social policy" measure in this context. This distinction is important, as "social policy" is considered as an area of "shared" (and not "supporting") competence in the draft Treaty (Article 12(4)). This may imply that EU competence for action under Article 137 is now transformed from "supporting" to "shared".

78.  Article 15(2) anticipates "sport" and "protection against disasters" becoming established as new areas of Union competence. On sport, the main EU action thus far consisted of the Declaration on sport of the Amsterdam Treaty and the Declaration "on the specific characteristics of sport and its social function in Europe", which was annexed to the Conclusions of the Nice Summit. EC action on civil protection, on the other hand, has been thus far only been possible under Article 308 TEC.

79.  Article 15(3) would impose an obligation on Member States to coordinate their national employment policies within the Union. Currently "Member States and the Community shall … work towards developing a coordinated strategy for employment" (Article 125 TEC) with the Community being able to contribute to a high level of employment by encouraging cooperation between Member States (Article 127 TEC) and the Council being able to adopt incentive measure designed to encourage cooperation between Member States (Article 129 TEC).

80.  Article 15(4) states, as general rule, that supporting action in the areas listed in Article 15(2) does not permit the harmonisation of Member States' laws or regulations. Specific examples of this rule can currently be found in Article 129 (employment), Article 150(4) (vocational training), and Article 151(5) (culture).

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