Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The regulation of regulations

Many have said much about the plan that was made to save the Euro and the Union.

But why say so much when it can be said as cold-blooded as in Article 1 of the regulation that has changed the Union:
"With a view to preserving the financial stability of the European Union, this Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures under which Union financial assistance may be granted to a Member State which is experiencing, or is seriously threatened with, a severe economic or financial disturbance caused by exceptional occurrences beyond its control, taking into account the possible application of the existing facility providing medium-term financial assistance for non-euro-area Member States' balances of payments, as established by Regulation (EC) No 332/2002."
These are the words that are worth 60,000,000,000 Euro (this sum is not mentioned anywhere in the regulation) and they are followed by words in the second article that are probably historic in the constitutional history of the European Union:
"[T]he Commission shall be empowered on behalf of the European Union to contract borrowings on the capital markets or with financial institutions."
Just to repeat that: A regulation by one institution, the Council, gives new fundamental, quasi-constitutional powers to the another institution of the European Union, the Commission, namely to make debts on the financial markets.

In other words, the Council has given itself the quasi-constitutional right to create quasi-constitutional rights for the Commission. In a meeting that lasted just half a day.

Let's face it: This is the "regulation of regulations".

Picture: © tpcom / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


martinned said...

And yet it fits in the EU's history. Most of the great breakthroughs in European Integration were made this way. From the invention of the European Council to the Schengen Agreement, much of the really big stuff happened intergovernmentally or otherwise "off the books". (Either that or via the Court of Justice like in Costa v. ENEL or Cassis de Dijon.)

Clearly amending the Treaties is only one way of amending the Treaties...