Kelemen_EUAfterLisbon - Obstinate or Obsolete? The Fate of...

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Obstinate or Obsolete? The Fate of the European Union Session I: Politics And Institutions Page 1 BACKGROUND PAPER SESSION I: P OLITICS A ND I NSTITUTIONS EU I NSTITUTIONS AFTER L ISBON : W RONG D IAGNOSIS , M EDIEVAL T REATMENT , G OOD P ROGNOSIS BY R. D ANIEL K ELEMEN 1 There is something fundamentally medieval about the constitutional exercise the EU has gone through over the last few years. The parallel is not with medieval politics, but rather with medieval medicine. Like so many unfortunate souls in that benighted age, the EU’s condition has been wrongly diagnosed and it has been subject to a ‘treatment’ that is surely worse than any disease from which it may have suffered. In short, the EU’s body politic has been subjected to a barber shop leeching. That is the bad news. The good news is that thankfully the Union was and remains robust enough to survive the malpractice of its self-styled healers. If we look back to December 2001 when the Constitutional exercise was launched with the Laeken Declaration, the EU was not broken or in crisis. Certainly, the Nice Treaty had introduced some awkward reforms, such as the triple majority voting system in the Council, and it had left some unfinished business, such as the status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. But the EU was not in need of fundamental institutional reform. Nevertheless, it was subjected to a constitutional ‘cure’. After the French and Dutch ‘No’ votes on the draft Constitutional Treaty in December 2005, it appeared as though, mercifully, that course of treatment would be abandoned. But European leaders were not to be discouraged. After the so-called ‘Period of Reflection’, they relabeled the Constitutional Treaty, marketing it as a generic medicine under the label ‘Reform Treaty’ or ‘Treaty of Lisbon. They are now on the verge of administering it to European citizens. This time, however, all governments but the Irish are declining to seek the patients’ (ie citizens’) advanced consent. Though the outcome of the Irish referendum is not certain and though the Kaczynski twins in Poland are threatening mischief, it seems highly likely that the Treaty of Lisbon will be ratified by all member states and come into force in 2009. 2 What reforms will the Lisbon Treaty introduce and how does it compare with the Constitutional Treaty rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005? What impact should we expect the Lisbon Treaty to have on the European Union? This brief paper addresses these questions. The first section examines the major reforms contained in the Treaty of Lisbon, compares Lisbon with the rejected Constitutional Treaty, and assesses the likely impact of the Lisbon reforms. The second section discusses how these reforms relate to – or rather fail to relate to - the main challenges facing the EU today. The Treaty of Lisbon introduces a number of reforms that will facilitate EU action and ‘deepen’ the Union. It also contains a few reforms that are likely to obstruct the EU
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2012 for the course 790 395 taught by Professor Tillery during the Fall '09 term at Rutgers.

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Kelemen_EUAfterLisbon - Obstinate or Obsolete? The Fate of...

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