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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another look at the treaty:what's it, who's on, and who's out

Ok, because I write so often about our treaty, i'm offering a little more analysis on it, which i found in EuroAktiv. Enjoy.

The EU's Reform Treaty has actually produced two treaties: "a treaty on the EU, which contains most of the institutional provisions, and a second treaty on the functioning of the Union", write Daniel Gros and Stefano Micossi of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).

Although the road to the Reform Treaty has been painful, the final agreement – in which "most of the substance of the failed Constitution has been preserved" – will serve the EU well, believe the authors.

The October commentary remarks that the treaty's two-level structure is an "important innovation", providing for a fundamental law on which everyone must agree, and "specific policies on which dissent is normal and can thus be modified more easily". The authors claim the new treaty improves decision-making through the permanent, elected presidency for the Council, as well as its

institutionalisation and new voting mechanism based on majorities of countries and population, thus providing "a better equilibrium between big and small countries".

Gros and Micossi argue that the democratic control mechanisms are improved too, with the new treaty making national parliaments and the European Court of Justice the "gatekeepers of subsidiarity", and even providing for powers to be returned to the member states "with a simple decision of the Council".

Who got what:

  • Poland managed to include the so-called Ioannina clause in a Protocol. This allows for a minority of member states to delay key decisions taken by qualified majority in the Council "within a reasonable space of time", even if they do not dispose of a blocking
    minority. However, the clause is not included in the actual Treaty text, which means that member states can alter this provision without having to go through the cumbersome procedure of Treaty change.

  • Italy obtained an extra seat in the European Parliament, putting it back on equal footing with the UK, but giving it one seat less than France.

  • The UK defended its "red lines" and received wide-ranging opt-outs on cooperation in justice and home affairs. The UK and Poland also opted out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. source

So much about what' it, now let's see who's thinking what.
Obviously, in UK there will be a problems as G. Brown is firm on not having a
referendum on it, while offering full parliamentary debate. In France "61% of the surveyed want a referendum and 68% of those who answered said that they would vote in favour of the
treaty and only 32% of respondents said that they would vote against." (source), in Ireland, which is bound to ask the people by its constitution, we have "25% of Irish citizens would vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, while 13% would vote against. An overwhelming 62% of those asked are undecided, with little more than a year left until the 1 January 2009
deadline to ratify the new treaty" (source), Italy got its extra MEP's seat /distribution was "unacceptable" before/ (source).

And yeah, the priorities of EU announced by (source) "The European Commission has released its political programme for the coming year, with a core focus on issues such as growth and jobs, climate change, energy and migration – confirming its desire to move on
from matters of institutional reform."

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