At the 16/17 December 2010 European Council a political decision was taken to amend the Treaties through the simplified revision procedure of article 48(6) TFEU. On March 25, 2011 the European Council adopted the legal decision to amend article 136 TFEU by adding a new third paragraph: “The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.”
The process of approval of this decision by the member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements as prescribed by article 48(6) has been completed and the amendment has entered into force on 1 May 2013.
What political/legal difficulties did Cyprus encounter in the negotiation of the amendment of article 136 TFEU?
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and the Cypriot government were favourable of the creation of a permanent stability mechanism and a Treaty amendment, as a last resort (necessary) solution. The Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2010, Mr. Markos Kyprianou had noted that ‘it is a reasonable suggestion, yet the possibility of creating a permanent assistance mechanism should be first evaluated under a scenario without a Treaty amendment. If this is deemed impossible, then we should consider all possibilities’.
The Parliamentary Committee on Foreign and European Affairs evaluated the relevant Draft Bill (‘Law on the amendment of the TFEU 2012’) in a meeting held on 25 May 2012, where delegations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economics and the Office of the General Attorney of the Cypriot Republic participated. The goal of the act under discussion was the approval of Decision 2011/199/EU of the European Council, which amends Article 136 TFEU, in accordance with Art. 169 (2) of the Cypriot Constitution.
Amongst the other issues the Parliamentary Committee took into account in the preparation of the act; was the pressing need for the creation of the ESM. After the Committee ascertained that the amendment at issue did not increase the competences attributed to the EU by the Treaties, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified the Committee that the approval of the Decision was necessary for the (subsequent) ratification of the ESM Treaty.
All the participants agreed with the objectives of the suggested Act, whereas a few ‘leftish’ parties, both in government and opposition (‘Democratic Party’, the ‘leftish’ coalition ‘AKEL- Left- Nees Dynameis’ together with the member of the Social Democrats’ Movement (EDEK)) reserved their right to take position on the matter during the discussion of the Act at the House of Parliament. The aforementioned parties eventually voted in favour of the new Draft Bill, after pointing out, however, that they disagreed with the way the decision on the Treaty amendment and the creation of a permanent stability mechanism was taken at a European level, in particular in light of the disregard of the voices of the ‘peoples of Europe’ and the lack of a referendum.
During the discussion in the House of Parliament no objections were raised by any of the Parliamentarians as to the Act. As such all the relevant Articles (1-5) were approved and the (ratification) ‘Law on the Amendment of the TFEU 2012’ was submitted for vote in the Parliament, where it was eventually enacted.
How has the 136 TFEU Treaty amendment been approved in Cyprus and on what legal basis/argumentation?
The approval Law of the Treaty amendment (Article 136 TFEU) is Law 13 (III) of 2012, as published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus (Issue 4164/ 15 June 2012). The ‘Law on the Amendment of the TFEU 2012’ (Article 136 TFEU) was approved by simple majority by the House of Representatives on 31 May 2012, after it was discussed in the Full House of Assembly. No objections arose during the discussion as the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that the Treaty amendment does not increase the powers of the EU and is absolutely necessary for the establishment of the ESM. The legal basis for the ratifying Law is Article 169 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, according to which:
‘Subject to the provisions of Article 50 and paragraph 3 of Article 57- […]
(2) any other treaty, convention or international agreement shall be negotiated and signed under a decision of the Council of Ministers and shall only be operative and binding on the Republic when approved by a law made by the House of Representatives whereupon it shall be concluded;’
The ratification was notified to the EU Council on 3 July 2012 (for more on Article 169 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, see Question VIII.2).
What political/legal difficulties did Cyprus encounter during the ratification of the 136 TFEU Treaty amendment?
In view of the fact that the Cypriot government (together with the majority of the political parties) was particularly favourable of the creation of the European Stability Mechanism, no debate arose during the ratification procedure. The House of Representatives approved the amendment of Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty on 30 May 2012. The amendment of Article 136 TFEU was ratified by Law 13 (III)/2012 (Official Journal of the Republic of Cyprus 4164/ 15 June 2012) and the ratification was completed on the 3rd July 2012. (See also Question II.1)
Is there a (constitutional) court judgment in Cyprus on the 136 TFEU Treaty amendment?
No constitutional judgment on the 136 TFEU amendment exists.
What other information is relevant with regard to Cyprus and the 136 TFEU Treaty amendment?