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Which policies for the European Union ?

The Constitution and the economic domain
The Constitution and the social domain
The Constitution and Citizens' Security
The Constitution and the Representation of Europe Internationally

Towards a "European economic government"

Today the Member States that adopted the euro independently manage their economic policies (budgetary and fiscal). They also have to co-ordinate with the other Member States and ensure the respect of the rules of the stability pact. If these criteria are not respected, the Council of Ministers may impose financial sanctions on those Member States.

The Constitution will only add a few modifications to this point. The changes, however few in number, are important and establish the idea of a "European economic government.” More specifically, the States,  which have adopted the euro, aim towards close co-ordination of their economic policies. These modifications mainly consist of:

- the official acknowledgement of the Eurogroup, hitherto informal meeting of Economy and Finance Ministers of the Member States in the Euro Zone

- the adoption of major guidelines in terms of economic policy (GOPE) specifically involving Member States in the Euro Zone

- the opportunity for the same States to put forward a recommendation to the Council of Ministers when they examine the candidature of a Member State that wants to adopt the euro; if a recommendation like this is not put forward, the Council will not be able to continue the candidature examination procedure. This part of the Constitution was accepted on France's request.

The Stability and Growth Pact

The Constitution confirms the role as guardian of the Commission's treaties in terms of monitoring public deficit within the context of the stability and growth pact. It is granted the power to address warnings to a Member State whose deficit is excessive.

In addition, it is now planned that the Council of Ministers adopt the sanction procedure based on a proposal by the Commission (and no longer by a simple recommendation as it stands presently). This means that the Council of Ministers will be able to oppose a Commission initiative with a unanimous decision by its members. These measures will result in a re-balancing of power as far as monitoring the States’ respect of the stability pact.

The European Budget

with the European Constitution the European Parliament has equal governing power as the concil of ministers concerning the budget. The decisions made in the budgetary domain will be the results of  negotiations in which the States’ influence will be decisive. Finally, the rule of unanimity will continue to be applicable in defining the pluri-annual budget. This means that each Member State will continue to have the right to veto the establishment of  its contribution regarding the financing and adoption of the European Union's budget. We should note that a "clause passerelle" enables a move from a unanimity rule to one of the majority, thereby introducing more flexibility in the definition of the European budget.


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