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The Making of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty

The Role of Member States

Series:

Finn Laursen

The European Union (EU) has gone through a number of treaty reforms since the establishment of the European Communities in the 1950s and the creation of the European Union by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The latest such reform is the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in 2009.
In this book, a number of scholars explore the process of producing the Lisbon Treaty. The focus is on the role of member states, arguably the ‘masters of the treaty.’ Intergovernmental conferences have become the main setting for treaty reforms since the Single European Act (SEA) in the mid-1980s. This makes national preferences and inter-state bargaining important when new treaties are negotiated.
The Lisbon Treaty delineates a number of institutional changes. In the end the product has to be evaluated against the standards established at the outset. Will the treaty improve the efficiency, democratic legitimacy as well as the coherence of the Union’s external action, as the member states claimed it would? While the final text of the treaty leaves the EU with some new institutional possibilities, it also has its limitations, especially in the area of foreign and security policy.

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PART I: INTRODUCTION

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PART I INTRODUCTION 17 The Lisbon Treaty The Treaty-Making Process Finn LAURSEN Introduction The European Union (EU) is based on a number of treaties, some of which go back to the 1950s, especially the Rome “Treaty establishing the European Economic Community” (EEC). Prior to the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, the EU was based on the treaty framework that emerged when the Treaty of Nice entered into force in 2003 (European Union 2003). The Constitutional Treaty – elaborated during the Convention on the Future of Europe, 2002-2003, and finally negotiated during the intergovernmental conference (IGC) of 2003-2004 – proposed a number of changes in that framework (Council of the European Union 2004a and 2004b; European Convention 2003). But the treaty was rejected in referendums in France and the Nether- lands in May and June 2005, respectively (Laursen 2008). After a reflection period, it was decided that a so-called “reform treaty” should be negotiated. The German presidency played an important role in securing agreement on a mandate for a new IGC in June 2007 (Council of the European Union 2007a and 2007b). During the Portuguese presidency in the autumn of 2007, this IGC produced a new treaty, the Lisbon Treaty (European Union 2007). The ratification of the treaty took longer than originally expected, because the Irish people rejected ratification of the treaty in a referen- dum in June 2008. However, the Irish subsequently accepted the treaty in a second referendum in October 2009. Domestic problems also created some delay...

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