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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 III: THE ROLES OF OTHER BIG MEMBER STATES

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PART III THE ROLES OF OTHER BIG MEMBER STATES 77 France and Lisbon Back to the Future Bernard BARTHALAY As far as European integration is concerned, France is still basically both de Gaulle’s and Monnet’s country. In this regard, we could speak of two French souls. How much of each has been embedded in the Lisbon Treaty? To begin with, the word “integration” itself is a matter of dispute. De Gaulle scorned it for the following reasons: first, it was used by post-war Anglo-Saxon economists (political scientists entered later into the arena);1 second, it was extraneous to French history: long-haul nation-building around a city was familiar to him – with conquests, marriages, annexations and joining of territories – while “integration” was not. On the contrary, Monnet cherished the term as a concept of what a strategy for European unity could be – a step-by-step process, made of clear-cut, though sometimes overlapping, stages that had to be carried on consistently.2 However, this contrast should not be brought down to the revolu- tionary divide between Jacobines and Girondines. De Gaulle was no Robespierre.3 Resistance to Nazi Germany deeply influenced de Gaulle, 1 “On a préféré un truc, un organisme bizarre, l’intégration, plutôt qu’une entente entre les nations. Depuis, le Marché Commun est entre le zist et le zest.” [They pre- ferred a thingummy, an odd organism, the integration, rather than an understanding between nations. Since then, the Common Market is neither good nor bad] (de Gaulle, Palais de l’Elysée,...

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