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The Convention on the Future of Europe

How States Behave in a New Institutional Context of Negotiation


Francesco Marchi

The negotiation of new treaties, containing important institutional innovations and reforms, has been a constant challenge for the EU ever since the 1950s. When compared with the classic intergovernmental conferences, the Convention on the Future of Europe stands as a Copernican revolution that radically altered the method of treaty change. For the first time, Member States agreed to share their constituent power with representatives from the European institutions, as well as from the national parliaments. Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach merging history, political science and negotiation analysis, this book examines the origins of this new method, taking into account previous experiments of a constitutional nature such as the EPC, the Spinelli Draft Treaty and the convention that drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It also analyses how this new method might have influenced the negotiating behaviour of government representatives. Using a case study approach in two specific policy areas that were negotiated at the European Convention – firstly, the reform of the EU’s institutional architecture and secondly, the adoption of a legal personality and the simplification of the legal instruments – the author explores how the characteristics of the issues under negotiation influenced the dynamics in the Assembly and, specifically, the behaviour of representatives of the Member States.
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This research has been an exceptional adventure in many regards, humanly speaking and intellectually speaking. The final result would not have been possible without the help of a number of people, to only some of whom it is possible to give particular mention here.

First of all, I would like to address my sincere expression of gratitude to Prof. Renaud Dehousse, for accepting to supervise this research and for his endless encouragements throughout these years. It has been a great privilege to conduct my research in collaboration with a professor of his stature.

I would like to address a special thanks to the Centre of European Studies at Sciences Po for providing me during several years with all the facilities and logistic support that a doctoral student could dream about and for financing with a three year grant “Bourse Europe” my research. Working there during three years was a unique occasion to meet and have exchanges with top international scholars on my research topic. My gratitude goes to Kalypso Nicolaides, Paul Magnette, Michael Schakleton, Vivien Schmidt, Wolfgang Wessels, Olivier Costa, Aurelien Colson and Daniel Druckman for having commented on early drafts of my research project, and for having provided me with useful advice on how to better approach my object of interest.

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