Part 10-12

Protocol On The EXCESSIVE DEFICIT PROCEDURE Icon

Article 1

The reference values referred to in Article 3-184(2) of the Constitution are: (a) 3 % for the ratio of the planned or actual government deficit to gross domestic product at market prices; (b) 60 % for the ratio of government debt to gross domestic product at market prices.

Article 2

For the purposes of Article 3-184 of the Constitution and of this Protocol: (a) ‘government’ means general government, that is central government, regional or local government and social security funds, to the exclusion of commercial operations, as defined in the European System of Integrated Economic Accounts; (b) ‘deficit’ means net borrowing as defined in the European System of Integrated Economic Accounts; (c) ‘investment’ means gross fixed capital formation as defined in the European System of Integrated Economic Accounts; (d) ‘debt’ means total gross debt at nominal value outstanding at the end of the year and consolidated between and within the sectors of general government as defined in point (a).

Article 3

In order to ensure the effectiveness of the excessive deficit procedure, the governments of the Member States shall be responsible under this procedure for the deficits of general government as defined in Article 2(a). The Member States shall ensure that national procedures in the budgetary area enable them to meet their obligations in this area deriving from the Constitution. The Member States shall report their planned and actual deficits and the levels of their debt promptly and regularly to the Commission. Article 4 The statistical data to be used for the application of this Protocol shall be provided by the Commission.

11. PROTOCOL ON THE CONVERGENCE CRITERIA

Article 1

The criterion on price stability referred to in Article 3-198(1)(a) of the Constitution shall mean that the Member State concerned has a price performance that is sustainable and an average rate of inflation, observed over a period of one year before the examination, that does not exceed by more than 1,5 percentage points that of, at most, the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability. Inflation shall be measured by means of the consumer price index on a comparable basis, taking into account differences in national definitions. Article 2 The criterion on the government budgetary position referred to in Article 3-198(1)(b) of the Constitution shall mean that at the time of the examination the Member State concerned is not the subject of a European decision of the Council under Article 3-184(6) of the Constitution that an excessive deficit exists. Article 3 The criterion on participation in the exchange-rate mechanism of the European Monetary System referred to in Article 3-198(1)(c) of the Constitution shall mean that the Member State concerned has respected the normal fluctuation margins provided for by the exchange-rate mechanism of the European Monetary System without severe tensions for at least the last two years before the examination. In particular, the Member State shall not have devalued its currency’s bilateral central rate against the euro on its own initiative for the same period. Article 4 The criterion on the convergence of interest rates referred to in Article 3-198(1)(d) of the Constitution shall mean that, observed over a period of one year before the examination, the Member State concerned has had an average nominal long-term interest rate that does not exceed by more than 2 percentage points that of, at most, the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability. Interest rates shall be measured on the basis of long-term government bonds or comparable securities, taking into account differences in national definitions.

Article 5 The statistical data to be used for the application of this Protocol shall be provided by the Commission.

Article 6

The Council shall, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, and the Economic and Financial Committee referred to in Article 3-192 of the Constitution, adopt appropriate provisions to lay down the details of the convergence criteria referred to in Article 3-198 of the Constitution, which shall then replace this Protocol.

12 PROTOCOL ON THE EURO GROUP

Article 1

The Ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro shall meet informally. Such meetings shall take place, when necessary, to discuss questions related to the specific responsibilities they share with regard to the single currency. The Commission shall take part in the meetings. The European Central Bank shall be invited to take part in such meetings, which shall be prepared by the representatives of the Ministers with responsibility for finance of the Member States whose currency is the euro and of the Commission.

Article 2

The Ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro shall elect a president for two and a half years, by a majority of those Member States.

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