How States Behave in a New Institutional Context of Negotiation
Chapter I. Introduction
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This book is about the origins and functioning of the Convention on the Future of Europe that took place between February 2002 and July 2003. More specifically, it looks at how this new institutional context of negotiation has influenced the behaviour of the Member States’ governments. Since its foundation in the 1950s, the EU has incrementally evolved from an intergovernmental organisation to a supranational polity with a quasi-constitutional order. Its constant geographical expansion and the growing number of policy areas of competence brought to the fore of the EU political debate issues of constitutional character that were negotiated during the Amsterdam (1996) and Nice (2000) intergovernmental conferences (IGCs). However the two conferences failed to propose the reforms needed and the list of “leftovers” generated a long decade of continuous constitutional changes1. The Nice IGC was the turning point showing the limits of this method of treaty reform, criticised for the inflexibility of Member States governments’ positions, the lack of transparency and the marginal involvement of institutions like the European Parliament, the European Commission and the national Parliaments.
Despite the reticence of the some governments2, the Laeken European Council3, through a decision-making technology transfer, decided to convoke the Convention on the Future of Europe with the aim of proposing a comprehensive reform of the European Union Treaties. The new body was modelled on the previous Convention that drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in 1999-20004....
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