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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 VI: CONCLUSIONS

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PART VI CONCLUSIONS 299 The Making of the Lisbon Treaty National Preferences, Inter-state Bargaining and Theoretical Debates Finn LAURSEN Introduction There is an increasingly large literature focusing on reforms of the constitutive treaties of the original European Communities (EC) and the later European Union (EU). The Lisbon Treaty (2007/09) is only the most recent reform in a long sequence of reforms, going through the Merger Treaty (1965/67), the First Budgetary Treaty (1970/71), the Second Budgetary Treaty (1975/77), the Single European Act (1986/87), the Maastricht Treaty (1992/93), the Amsterdam Treaty (1997/99) and the Treaty of Nice (2001/03). Particularly since the Single European Act (SEA), scholars have shown great interest in these reforms (see, for example, Beach 2005; Mateo González 2008; Moravcsik 1998; Smith 2002). The SEA was also the reform in which intergovernmental con- ferences (IGCs), foreseen by the founding treaties of Paris and Rome, started playing an important role. The founding treaties were arguably also negotiated through intergovernmental conferences, but these dis- cussions were in many ways less formalised than IGCs became later, from the SEA onwards. The three reforms in between – the Merger Treaty in the 1960s and the two budgetary treaties in the 1970s – were largely negotiated by the Council of Ministers and the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), and the required IGC was simply a bit of a formality at the end of the process, where speeches were made and the new treaty signed. In the cases of the SEA, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice treaties, the...

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