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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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Coping with the normal length, regular intricacy, and fair efficacy of the European Union negotiation rounds and with the complex conditions of today’s international negotiation is fascinating work. This is the message launched by Francesco Marchi in this book. His accurate study of the not remote experience of the European Convention for giving a Constitution to Europe offers many lessons to the people concerned with European integration and with the study and practice of international negotiation. The practitioners and scientists of negotiation theory have many cases at hand in this book for checking their outlook about what was contemplated as an art and a technique mastered only by long-time experienced diplomats, and has turned into a matter of study and an object of scientific, collective and transferable knowledge.

Too early and fast forgotten by the policy-makers, the men in the street and also the Europeanists, the Convention that delivered the European constitution ill-fated treaty has been left to the care of the people writing the history of the ever-erratic process of the European integration. This sort of a destiny overshadows the relevance of that endeavor! It merits being the object of the greatest consideration of the Europeans concerned with today’s res publica. This is true in current crisis time as ever. Still more, the Convention stands as excellent case of what international negotiation is in the post-modern era we live in. In fact, the book tackles two important objects, that unique event of contemporary European history...

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