Germany has got what it wants: On the second day of their summit, the 27 EU leaders have already agreed in principle to back calls by Berlin and Paris to amend the Lisbon Treaty. Tougher budget discipline rules will aim to restrain deficits and debt.
It will entail making the new emergency euro stability fund permanent. To meet the requirements of the German constitution, this requires a Treaty change. It is European Council President Herman van Rompuy’s job to define this, ostensibly by December.
In Brussels, van Rompuy said: “We’ve agreed there needs to be a permanent mechanism to deal with crises, and that means a limited amendment to the treaty.”
The European Financial Stability Facility, erected this year to prevent Greek tremors from spreading, is set to expire in 2013.
Analyst Piotr Kaczyński with the Centre for European Policy Studies suggested how developments can proceed: “You can change the rules of the game, the rules guiding the euro, and you still have to ratify by the 27 parliaments, in the 27 member states, but you do not need to have a convention, you do not need referenda in Ireland or in the UK.”
To avoid lengthy dismantling, there is an article in the Lisbon Treaty to let EU countries unanimously amend how the bloc works.
The leaders today will give intense thought to a boosted European budget.