If the European Council does succeed in making what it promises will be a “limited change” to the Lisbon treaty, it will be by relying on article 48(6). That article spares the EU leaders the trouble of a convention and intergovernmental conference. It allows treaty articles on internal EU competences to be amended by a unanimous decision of the European Council, followed by ratification by the member states. The national leaders are hoping that the change will be deemed so small that it will not have to be put to a referendum.
The part of the Lisbon treaty that the leaders want to change is article 122, which currently allows member states to provide economic assistance to member states in the event of natural disasters or exceptional circumstances.
Click Here: Putters
In May, at the height of the eurozone’s debt crisis, the European Commission proposed that article 122 should be used as the basis for providing loans to stricken countries. But the Commission’s proposal was unacceptable to some member states, notable Germany, which feared that the use of the un-amended article might be challenged legally.
Instead, ministers decided on an intergovernmental approach, creating a European Financial Stability Facility, a special-purpose vehicle set up under Luxembourg law.
The most likely approach will be to insert one or two sentences into article 122, saying that member states can receive economic assistance in exceptional circumstances, including where there is a risk of “economic contagion”.
The European Council’s agreed conclusions state that article 125, the no bail-out clause, will remain – a point stressed by Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.
Article 125 says that the EU or a member state “shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities”.