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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 IV. The structure and composition of the European Convention


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The structure and composition of the European Convention


Since the Treaty of Maastricht the EU has undergone a continuous period of institutional reforms that ended with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009. Supranational institutions as well as national parliaments have increasingly claimed the right to be involved in the process by taking part directly in the IGCs or indirectly by contributing to the reflection groups in charge of formulating proposals for institutional reforms1. Hence the European Convention was a significant response to the need to further democratise2 the long-lasting process of treaty reform by involving a wider spectrum of political actors such as the European Parliament, the Commission, and the National Parliaments that were usually left aside. The idea lying at the heart of the project, especially in the governments’ eye, was the hope that the institutional design of the new negotiation setting would allow more ambitious and innovative results avoiding the rigidity and inefficiency of the previous IGCs3. A more open, inclusive and transparent process was meant to be the remedy to the classic “lowest common denominator” outcomes produced by the previous IGCs. The structural differences of the European Convention process were expected to produce a more discursive setting4, able to reduce the transaction costs5 linked to the complex issues under negotiations such as a renewed institutional architecture. According to these premises, ← 127 | 128 → the aim of this part of the research...

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