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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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Chapter II. Governmental actors’ preferences and negotiation behaviour at the European Convention. The theoretical debate and the search for a toolbox


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Governmental actors’ preferences and negotiation behaviour at the Convention

The theoretical debate and the search for a toolbox

Before 2002 the constitutional negotiations in the European Union have always taken place in IGCs under the unanimity rule and in a secret intergovernmental environment. On the contrary, the European Convention was a unique experiment characterised by a substantially different organisational and institutional setting involving a multiplicity of actors ranging from Member States’ governments’ representatives to MEPs, national parliamentarians and some representatives from the European Commission. The method was also characterised by a high degree of openness that consisted of the full1 publicity of the working sessions and the full accessibility of all the documents produced by the body.

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