On 11 July 2011, a first Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism was signed in Brussels by the 17 Member States in the euro area. The deterioration of the financial situation in Greece meant that a new aid plan was required, involving the Member States in the euro area, the financial assistance instruments set up in 2010 (the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, including the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)) and private creditors. Given the risk of contagion, the decision was taken to review the financial assistance instruments, namely the EFSF and the recently approved European Stability Mechanism. The Treaty of 11 July 2011 did not enter into force; it was amended and served as the basis for another Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism, signed in Brussels on 2 March 2012.
The conclusions of the European Council held on 23 October 2011 focus in large part on the question of growth, identifying a number of key priorities for domestic economic policy. The Heads of State or Government also emphasise the framework established by tools designed to strengthen economic governance in the European Union — namely the Europe 2020 strategy, the European semester, the Euro Plus Pact and the package of six legislative acts on economic governance — and reiterate their determination to monitor their implementation closely.
At their meeting on 26 October 2011 in Brussels, the Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the euro zone manage, after tough negotiations, to adopt a comprehensive package to enable the euro zone to improve its resistance to the sovereign debt crisis and to finalise a second programme of aid to Greece, mainly based on measures to bring the Greek debt down to a sustainable level.
On 8 November 2011, the Heads of State or Government of the euro area reach agreement on a series of additional measures that reflect their determination to make every effort to overcome the current difficulties and take the necessary steps to complete Economic and Monetary Union.
Annexed to the conclusions of the European Council, held on 8 and 9 December 2011, the statement adopted by the Heads of State or Government affirms their determination to move towards a stronger economic union by means of a new fiscal compact and strengthened economic policy coordination as well as the development of stabilisation tools to face short-term challenges.
On 23 January 2012, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Eurogroup, presents the outcome of previous discussions between euro area and European Union finance ministers on the critical situation in Greece.