III - Changes to Constitutional Law

Nature national instruments   
What is the character of the legal instruments adopted at national level to implement Euro-crisis law (constitutional amendment, organic laws, ordinary legislation, etc)?

The ‘Euro-crisis’ law was transposed into the national legal order by means of ordinary legislation. The great majority of the instruments was adopted under Art. 169 (2) on ‘treaties, conventions and international agreements’ that requires simple majority at the Parliament, with the exception of the Fiscal Compact which was adopted under Art. 169 (1) (see also questions II.1, VI.2 and VII.2).

For example:  
– the EFSF was implemented in Cyprus through Law 13 (III) of 2010 with the title ‘The law on the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in the European Financial Stability Facility’ (see question IV.2);   
– the amendment of Article 136 TFEU approved by Law 13 (III) of 2012 (see question V.2);
– the “Six-Pack” was implemented through Law 194 (I) of 2012 on the Medium Term Budgetary Framework and the Fiscal Rules (see questions VII.2 and VII.7);
– the ESM Treaty ratified through Law 14 (III) of 2012 (see question IX.2);          
– and the MoU and FFA were ratified through Law 1 (III) of 2013 (see question X.2).

Constitutional amendment
Have there been any constitutional amendments in response to the Euro-crisis or related to Euro-crisis law? Or have any amendments been proposed?

So far no constitutional amendments have taken place or have been proposed in relation to the Euro – crisis. Yet constitutional amendments are being discussed in order to implement the ‘golden rule’ of the Fiscal Compact[1] (see also question IX.5).            

Constitutional context    
If national constitutional law already contained relevant elements, such as a balanced budget rule or independent budgetary councils, before the crisis that are now part of Euro-crisis law, what is the background of these rules?

Prior to the Eurozone crisis Cyprus lacked a solid fiscal framework and it is now in the process of building it. The main provisions in the Constitution of Cyprus that contain elements relating to the fiscal framework of Cyprus are Articles 165-168. These Articles mainly provide that the Minister of Finance is competent to draft the yearly budget, which upon the Cyprus Ministerial Council’s approval is submitted to the Houses of Parliament (Art. 167). No elements of a balanced budget rule or independent budgetary councils exist in the constitution. Elements of the budgetary process and other procedural issues regarding the allocation of expenditures and revenue appear on other provisions of the Constitution such as Art. 80, 81, 91 and 139 which, however, provide only for deadlines and exceptions from the standard procedure.

Purpose constitutional amendment 
What is the purpose of the constitutional amendment and what is its position in the constitution?

Not applicable.

Relationship with EU law 
Is the constitutional amendment seen as changing the relationship between national and European constitutional law?

Not applicable.          

Organic law
Have there been changes to organic laws or other types of legislation that are of a different nature or level than ordinary legislation, in relation to Euro-crisis law or the budgetary process?

No such changes have taken place.

Constitutional amendment and ordinary law      
If ordinary legislation was adopted in conjunction with a constitutional amendment, what is the relationship between the two?

There is no recent constitutional amendment, relating to the Euro-crisis measures.

Perception source of legal change 
In the public and political discussions on the adoption of ordinary legislation, what was the perception on the appropriate legal framework? Was the ordinary legislation seen as implementing national constitutional law, or Euro-crisis law?

As there has not been any constitutional amendment, the general perception in both the public and the Parliament was clearly that ordinary legislation was implementing Euro-crisis law. In fact after the receipt of financial assistance, at least the majority of the public perceived the ‘Euro-crisis law’, as ‘austerity law’ imposing the Troika’s demands that further, went against the national sovereignty of Cyprus and the overall constitutional order. Along the same line of argument, the leftish parties of the Parliament, in the famous plenary session of the 30th of April 2013 had argued that the acceptance of the MoU and the FFA would seriously undermine the national sovereignty of Cyprus (see question IX.2).

What other information is relevant with regard to Cyprus and to changes to national (constitutional) law?

Not applicable.

[1] See the report of the Parliamentarian Committee of Finance and Budget : as well as the debate in the Parliament;