December 16, 2011 / 3:19 PM / 7 years ago

New EU fiscal deal gives European Court of Justice authority

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Countries can be taken to the European Court of Justice if they fail to meet targets set out in a new fiscal agreement for the euro zone and other EU member states, the draft of the agreement showed on Friday.

All EU member states, except for Britain, agreed at a summit on December 8-9 that they were behind a new “fiscal compact” designed to strengthen budget deficit and debt rules in the euro zone and for other participating countries.

The compact, drafted over the past week, says that those countries that sign up to it must maintain a primary deficit of less than 0.5 percent over the course of the economic cycle, must keep their debt below 60 percent of gross domestic product and must have a budget deficit of less than 3 percent.

The agreement will come into effect once 9 countries have ratified it, according to the draft released on Friday.

It also makes provision for at least two euro zone summits and year, and says that countries that have ratified the agreement and then fail to meet the objectives contained within it can be sued in the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, a move to make sanctions near-automatic.

“Any contracting party which considers that another contracting party has failed to comply... may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union,” article 8 of the 14 article agreement states.

“The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union shall be binding on the parties in the procedure, which shall take the necessary measures to comply with the judgment within a period to be decided by said court.”

Reporting by Julien Toyer and Luke Baker; editing by Luke Baker

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