The European Commission reports that 6 countries – Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Latvia and Malta, had a budget deficit of more than 3% in 2008. This breaches the budget deficit requirement of Article 104 TEU. The Commission published excessive deficit reports that analyze the reasons for the breach of the 3% reference value, taking due regard of the economic background and other relevant factors (art. 104, para. 3 TEU).
The report under Art. 104 TEU is in fact the start of the excessive deficit procedure. The next step will be a reasoned opinion of the Commission to the Council. An excessive deficit must be then acknowledged by the Council with qualified majority.