If a deficit exceeds this standard of fault, the member country enters the excessive deficit procedure. The procedure imposes an obligation for the country to reduce its deficit to a maximum of 3 percent. Sanctions may be imposed as well during this procedure. This will not be the case if the excessive deficit meets the following criteria:
- It is temporary in nature;
- It is the result of exceptional circumstances, for example an economic crisis.
Euro countries with a debt exceeding 60 percent of GDP must recover on average one-twentieth of the amount exceeding the limit on an annual basis.