HL Deb 12 July 1999 vol 604 cc10-1WA
Lord Shore of Stepney

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in spite of the opt-out provisions of Protocol 11 of the Maastricht Treaty, the provisions of EC Treaty Article 104 dealing with excess government deficits apply to the United Kingdom; and. if so, when and on what occasions recommendations have been made to the United Kingdom by the Council of Ministers under paragraphs 7 and 8 of Article 104. [HL3360]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Under Protocol 25 of the EC Treaty (ex Protocol 11) the UK is not obliged or committed to move to the third stage of economic and monetary union without a separate decision to do so by its government and parliament. As such, Article 104(1), (9) and (11) of the Excessive Deficit Procedure (ex 104c(1), (9) and (11)) does not apply to it. This means that the UK is not legally obliged to avoid running an excessive deficit and that ECOFIN has no powers to enforce recommendations made under Article 104(7) on the UK.

The UK is however obliged under Article 116(4) (ex Article 109e(4)) to "endeavour to avoid excessive government deficits" and is bound by the remainder of Article 104.

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