On March 11, 2011 the Heads of State or Government of the Eurozone endorsed the Pact for the Euro. At the 24/25 March 2011 European Council, the same Heads of State or Government agreed on the Euro Plus Pact and were joined – hence the ‘Plus’ – by six others: Bulgaria, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania (leaving only the UK, Czech Republic, Sweden and Hungary out).
The objective of the pact is to foster competitiveness, foster employment, contribute to the sustainability of public finances and reinforce financial stability. In the Euro-Plus-Pact the Heads of State or Government have entered into commitments on a number of policy areas, in which member states are competent.
What political/legal difficulties did Greece encounter in the negotiation of the Euro-Plus-Pact, in particular in relation to the implications of the Pact for (budgetary) sovereignty, constitutional law, socio-economic fundamental rights, and the budgetary process.
The issue of the Euro-plus pact was not extensively debated in Parliament. In general, in Greece, most of the relevant constitutional and political issues have been raised in the context of the bailout agreements and their implementation measures. These measures were often perceived as intrusive and/or in violation of the Constitution. Otherwise, increased supervision from Brussels was never perceived as a major issue by the mainstream political world and by the media, as long as it is accompanied by more help.
Concerning the Summit on the Euro-plus Pact, on the 1st of April 2011, the President of the Parliamentary Group of SY.RI.ZA. raised a question to the Prime Minister in the context of the Parliamentary scrutiny of the Government. In his speech Alexis Tsipras criticized Giorgos Papandreou for establishing long-term commitments that burden the Greek people, without even introducing them to Parliament for ratification according to article 28 of the Constitution. Papandreou responded that Tsipras’s objective was to terrorize the public opinion and that the Euro-plus Pact only contained policy objectives which were espoused by the Government and in some cases already adopted by it.
No other discussion on the legal/political nature of the Pact could be retrieved. The general idea that is given from the public debate on the issue is that the Euro-plus pact has been perceived as another step in the financial integration of the Eurozone. It has always been closely connected to the establishment of a European financial support mechanism, as the fulfilment of its provisions has been perceived as a condition for the support of the Greek economy.
What other information is relevant with regard to Greece and the Euro-Plus-Pact?