The Nice Treaty explained

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.


1. Preface
2. Enlargement or deepening?
Part I – The summit in Nice, December 2000

3. Discussion of the Nice Summit in the European Parliament
4. Threatened with rejection
5. SOS Democracy and the federalists agree on rejecting the Treaty of Nice
6. Knowledge is power – text withheld
7. Prepared by France and Portugal
8. Confusion right to the last
9. New vote weighting for the applicant states
Part II – Is Nice a treaty of enlargement?

10. Problems of enlargement not discussed
11. The official timetable for enlargement
12. The Treaty of Nice will be replaced by a new EU constitution in 2004
13. Brief run-down of Nice
14. Amendments to the Treaty of Union (TEU)
15. Foreign policy representatives
16. Changes to the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)
17. The protocol on enlargement abolishes the protocol on enlargement
18. Small countries will lose influence, regardless of any possible enlargement
19. Certainly lose the seat on the Commission
20. Promises to new member states are not binding
21. Other matters contained in the Treaty of Nice
22. Signed in Nice in February 2001
Part III – Consequences of the Treaty of Nice

23. A treaty of deepening rather than widening
Part IV – Another Europe

24. My European house
25. The EU has won a victory over the Council of Europe and EFTA.
26. Yugoslavia will seek membership of the EU
27. More Union – less democracy
28. A different kind of enlargement
29. Enlargement to suit the lobbying organistions
30. Time for adjustment, money for development
31. A more flexible Europe
32. Long transitional periods
33. Long-term exceptions
34. Variable exceptions
Part V – Review of the Nice summit proposals for a new EU treaty

35. Introduction – Preamble
36. Fundamental rights; Article 7, TEU
37. Procedure for new Austria cases
38. Difficulty of removing sanctions
39. Powers of scrutiny by the Court of Justice to be removed – Article 46
40. Security and defence; Article 17, TEU
41. NATO is to cover defence in the event of aggression
42. The Union’s special foreign policy representatives
43. International agreements by majority decision – Article 24, TEU
44. The Union is bound, but not all countries
45. Security and defence – Article 25, TEU
46. The fight against crime – the role of Eurojust; Articles 29 and 31, TEU
47. Powers of the Court of Justice under Article 7 – Article 46
48. Enhanced cooperation
49. Response to the Danish referendums
50. The rules of play for enhanced cooperation
51. Weakening of small countries’ negotiating position
52. Enhanced co-operation in the TEC Treaty
53. Enhanced Co-operation on Foreign and Security Policy – Title V of the TEU Treaty
54. Enhanced Judicial Co-operation – Title VI of the TEU Treaty
55. Extended integration, not flexibility
56. Agreements between the institutions
57. Discriminatory treatment – Article 13 of the TEC
58. Right of residence – Article 18 of the TEC
59. Reasonable response time, declaration annexed to Article 21 (3) of the TEC
60. Refugees and immigrants, Article 67
61. Compromise on the transition to more majority voting
62. Subsidies in the case of accidents and disasters, Article 100 of the TEC
63. Representation on monetary issues, Article 111 (4) of the TEC
64. Rapid introduction of the ECU, Article 123 (4) of the TEC
65. The common commercial policy, Article 133
66. Intellectual property rights and services
67. Agreements have direct effect
68. Social provisions, Article 137
69. When two sections conflict
70. Agreement-based system in difficulties
71. Social Committee to be established, Arti cle 144 of the TEC
72. Industrial Policy, Article 157
73. Social cohesion and Structural Funds, Articles 159 and 161
74. Environment, Article 175
75. Cooperation with third countries, new Article 181 A
76. Members of the European Parliament, Article 189
77. Statute for Members of the European Parliament, Article 190
78. Political parties at European level, Article 191
79. Appointment of the Secretary General of the Council, Article 207
80. Judges’ salaries, Article 210
81. The President and Members of the Commission, Article 214
82. Leadership of the Commission, Article 217
83. The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance, Article 220
84. The Court of First Instance, Article 224
85. New Judicial Panels, Article 225A
86. Patent Court, Article 229A
87. The European Parliament and the Court of Justice, Article 230
88. Amendments to the Statute, Article 245
89. The Court of Auditors, Articles 247 and 248
90. The Official Journal of the European Union, Article 254
91. Economic and Social Committee, Articles 257, 258 and 259
92. The Committee of the Regions, Article 263
93. Statute of the European Investment Bank, Article 266, paragraph 3
94. Accounting rules, Article 279
95. EU rules governing use of languages, Article 290
96. International agreements, Article 300(2)
97. The European Parliament and the Court of Justice, Article 300(6)
98. Protocol on the enlargement of the European Union, Annex I
99. Most countries loses seats in Parliament
100. Seats in the European Parliament
101. Small countries lose influence in the Council from 2005
102. Distribution of votes after 2005
103. The Commission, Article 4 of the Protocol
104. Declaration on enlargement
105. Seats in the European Parliament in an enlarged EU
106. The weighting of votes in the Council would be as follows in an EU with 27 Member States:
107. All summits for Belgium
108. Future of the Union, basic treaty in 2004
109. Statute of the Court of Justice
110. Transitional provisions on the ECSC etc.
111. ‘Final provisions’
112. Protocol on privileges
113. Protocol on the expiry of the ECSC Treaty
114. Here You can read more



This little book is a handy review of the Treaty of Nice. The first 4 parts of the book are rather popular. The last part is more documentary. There are two other books to come giving you further information about Nice and beyond.
The biggest book is the Treaty itself, put in context with the existing treaties. The third book is called “Different European Visions”. In this, I critisize the existing model for European integration and present alternative visions for European unification.


Enlargement or deepening?

Is the Treaty of Nice an agreement for enlargement or deepening? Will the European Commission be a real government when it is appointed through qualified majority among the member states? Will the Community fall apart when a qualified majority can create a state through enhanced co-operation?
Is the new system of decision making fit for enlargement? Will a united Europe need a slimmer, freer and more flexible approach? Will parliamentary democracy be weakened or strengthened? Will we need more openess, decentralization and democracy?
There are many questions to be answered before You can ratify the Treaty of Nice, and there are many different visions to be discussed in the new debate of our common future.
The summit in Nice decided to launch a broad European debate before the next treaty is adopted in 2004.
Take part in the discussions before others decide for You.

Jens-Peter Bonde

4 April 2001



Discussion of the Nice Summ it in the European Parliament

At 4.24 a.m. on Monday 11th December 2000, the 15 heads of government of the EU member states finished their record 5-day-long summit meeting in the Acropolis in the resort of Nice in the south of France.
The Treaty of Nice was finally completed, or so the 3000 waiting journalists and observers believed. 330 hours of negotiations at the inter-governmental conference were over. But negotiation of the final text was only completed after many meetings and a month and a half later, to be ready for signature at a ceremonial meeting in Nice on 26th February 2001.
Publication in Nice took a long time. Journalists only had provisional versions to write about, when they were due to report the outcome in the press.
Politicians and commentators only had provisional working documents to comment on, when they had to make their first announcements about the contents of the treaty.
The European Parliament did not even have the latest version from the EU summit, when President Jacques Chirac of France made a statement about the treaty on Tuesday 12th December in the chamber in Strasbourg.
We worked unremittingly all Monday to get hold of an unofficial draft, but without success. Nor could we get hold of the draft on Tuesday for the debate with M. Chirac. Not until Wednesday – after the debate – were we given the first provisional version, in French.
I was greatly surprised when I read it through carefully and found important things, which had not been mentioned at the many press briefings in Nice, either by the French President or by others who had taken part in the meeting.
The decision that, in future the whole Commission is to be appointed by majority voting, had been kept completely hidden! This will make the Commission more of a European government, rather than an administrative board with appointed representatives from the various member states.
At present, the individual countries choose their own members of the Commission. from 1st January 2005, the next Commission is to be appointed by qualified majority. According to this form of decision-taking, countries will be allocated varying numbers of votes.
From 2005, representatives of the 7 smallest countries could in theory all have their proposed commissioners voted down by the other 8 countries.
In an EU of 27 countries, the 13 smallest countries could in theory all have their proposed commissioners voted down by the heads of government of the other 14 countries.
We knew nothing of this, the first time we discussed the treaty in the European Parliament on Tuesday 12th December 2000. We believed it was only the president who could be appointed by qualified majority.
Discussion of the Nice Summit in the European Parliament
At 10.00 a.m. on Thursday we were due to vote on the annual budget and the Nice Summit in the European Parliament. I asked to speak on a point of order to protest against this unacceptable procedure, which meant we were expected to come to a decision on a text, which had not been circulated and which no-one had had the opportunity to read.
The French president of the Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, is a political ally of President Chirac of France. She refused to allow me to speak, even though my request was brought to her notice several times by her assistants.
When we came to the actual vote on the parliamentary resolution on the Nice Summit, I again tried to speak on a point of order, but without success.
The president refused to allow criticism of the French President from a Danish critic of the Union.
As a result, the Parliament voted on the Nice Summit for the first time without having access to anything other than a provisional version in French.
The great majority of members and all the European public did not yet know that, as a result of the new provision for qualified majority voting on the appointment of the entire Commission, it would be possible for their countries to have the commissioner of their choice rejected.
This big leap towards integration would delight most of the members in the highly integrationist European Parliament. The idea was up for discussion at a meeting of the Constitutional Committee with the Commission’s negotiator at the inter-governmental conference, the French member Michel Barnier.
He rejected the proposal as not having a chance; no countries had suggested it, none would suggest it.
The proposal would also arouse opposition from members, who were otherwise accustomed to voting in favour of more integration. For small countries, a seat on the Commission is their link between the EU and the individual country. Interest groups and public authorities often make use of the commissioner’s big private office in order to keep uptodate with the progress of proposals. According to the treaties, the commissioners are officially independent of national interests, but that is purely theoretical.


Threatened with rejection

On Thursday 14th December 2000 the European Parliament was extremely disatisfied with the outcome of Nice for other reasons. Even though they did not know the final text, Parliament passed a critical resolution on the Nice Summit with voting figures of 308 for, 95 against and 85 abstentions.  
In the resolution there is a threat to reject the text. The Constitutional Committee is asked to ascertain to what extent an enlarged EU can function in a transparent, democratic and effective way on the basis of the new treaty. This assessment has to be made quickly enough to enable Parliament to come to a decision before the national ratification procedures are started.
The European Parliament has no formal influence on the adoption of the Treaty of Nice. However, Belgium and Italy have previously indicated that they will not approve treaties which have been rejected by the Parliament. This time they have not said this.


SOS Democracy and the federalists agree on rejecting the Treaty of Nice

On Wednesday 13th December 2000 there was a lunchtime get-together of a so-called intergroup called SOS Democracy, in which critics of the EU from all political groups and countries meet.
The guest speaker was the chairman of the federalist intergroup, Jo Leinen. He was elected by the SPD and is a former minister of the German State of Saarland. To many people’s surprise, Mr Leinen said that he would be voting against the Treaty of Nice on democratic grounds.
Moreover, he was in agreement with 16-17 out of 19 points in a previous discussion paper, which had been drawn up by SOS Democracy as an alternative to the Treaty of Amsterdam.
The federalists want more majority decisions and much more union. They want a constitution instead of a treaty. On this point they are diametrically opposed to the critics of the EU in SOS Democracy.
But many federalists also want openness, decentralisation and democracy. Given the choice between integration and democracy, they have always chosen integration. Now many of them are backing out in respect to the Treaty of Nice. Some of them will not vote for more integration, unless there is also more democracy.
At the Wednesday lunchtime meeting, Jo Leinen also did not know that the Nice Summit had decided in favour of majority decisions on the composition of the whole Commission. He had not received the text, even though he was elected official rapporteur of the European Parliament on the Treaty of Nice, a job he shares with the Greek Christian Democrat, Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos.
We received a provisional English version of the Treaty of Nice after the vote on Thursday morning. It was not until Thursday afternoon that we were at last able to get the Treaty of Nice in all the official languages. It was entitled ‘Provisional text approved by the Conference of Representatives of the Governments of Member States on the reform of the institutions’.
After the summit it emerged that not even the heads of government were aware of all the resolutions that had been passed at the summit. A decision was taken at the last minute to move all summit meetings to Brussels once the EU has reached 18 member countries.
This will mean that the Belgian capital is seen to be the capital of the European Union, just as Washington is the federal capital of the USA, and the federal state of Germany now has Berlin as its federal capital.
The Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson, did not know of the decision, which he had presumably been involved in reaching. He at first thought that the report must be a mistake, which could be changed. Later he was obliged to say that he too supported the resolution. The future president of the European Council had been called to order.
I mention this perhaps minor detail because it shows something about the working conditions. Prime ministers are busy during a summit, and are not fully informed about what they are voting on. The decisions are binding and are almost impossible to alter.
The French presidency was acquainted with all the texts that were on the table at Nice. The French presidency was well prepared and had drawn up a detailed plan of the campaign for winning the summit. They had developed special computer programmes so that, by pressing just one key, they could see how a proposal might affect French interests.
The well prepared French staged something of a coup at the start of the battle by producing a new text, which most people were opposed to. Each country now had to use its forces to get these new offensive items removed. The French presidency could then promise in bilateral meetings that it would in the end agree to remove the new proposal, but then the other country would have to give way on something else in return.
The comprehensive overview of the negotiations was only to be found in one place: the offices of the French presidency. The president of the Commission was asked to keep out of it. The small countries’ frontline was breached.


Knowledge is power – text withheld

Even the heads of government were not aware of all the texts they are now being quoted as having supported and so feel compelled to support. The European Parliament rapporteurs did not have them three days after they had been agreed. The most persistent journalists did not have all the texts either.
This ignorance was not due to the fact that the texts did not exist. The French presidency was not willing to hand them over.
Knowledge is power.
At midday on Tuesday I saw a complete working document in the hands of one of the – French – heads of the Legal Service. The document was still not ready for distribution. However humbly I begged, I could onlyget permission to have the correct figures for the composition of the European Parliament, now there were so many different figures in circulation. He really could not show the whole text to a mere elected chairman of a group in the European Parliament.
A French EU official comes before the heads of government of small countries, before elected members of the European Parliament and way before the national parliaments.
This highly undemocratic procedure was supported by the French president of the European Parliament. At Thursday’s vote, France claimed that the treaty was available in all languages at midnight on Wednesday, but this was Parliament’s proposed resolution, not the text of the treaty. We only received this officially from the Parliament long after the discussion and the voting.


Prepared by France and Portugal

The summit negotiations were led by the French President, Jacques Chirac, because France had the presidency during the second half of the year 2000.
The negotiations had begun in February at a special inter-governmental conference. The heads of government had continued discussions at the summits in Feira in northern Portugal in March, in Lisbon in June and in Biarritz in October.
In the French Basque city of Biarritz, local traffic was stopped and, under heavy police guard, the content of th e EU Charter on Common Fundamental and Human Rights was agreed. Now it only remained for the Charter to be confirmed and signed in Nice.
The ambassadors of the EU states in Brussels and a special working group held several meetings to prepare the Prime Ministers’ closing meeting.
There was a 132-page document ready for the summit meeting in Nice, containing proposals for majority voting in 49 areas.
Now the summit was to open with a ceremonial meeting with the applicant states. M. Chirac begged the French press to postpone their attacks on the allegations of corruption and unlawful party financing, so he could concentrate on Europe.
The summit began with an official preliminary meeting of the so-called European Conference, which brings together the EU countries and the applicant states.
Here M. Chirac sat at the head of the table and welcomed the heads of government of all the 13 applicant states and Switzerland.
The leaders of the applicant states were each allowed to speak for five minutes, then have a splendid lunch and go home. The EU heads of government were then able to discuss the rules for the enlarged EU – without having to listen to their poor cousins from the east.
Once the rest of the ordinary summit business was out of the way, the inter-governmental conference was finally able to begin negotiations on Friday.


Confusion right to the last

On Monday 11th December the negotiating ended at 4.24 with new texts, which not all the delegations knew about.
The ambassadors of the EU countries had to meet several times after the summit to discover what the prime ministers had decided – or rather what they would have decided, if they had all been fully alert during the exhausting formal negotiations between prime ministers.
Many negotiations took place in private between M. Chirac and one of the Prime Ministers. He took them one at a time and threatened to cause trouble for them. Various figures came out in the newspapers, on radio and on television regarding the weighting of votes in the Council of Ministers, the number of seats in Parliament and how many votes would be needed to pass a law in the Council of Ministers.
There were rumours of a special agreement to move all EU summits to Belgium – a last-minute offer from M. Chirac to get the Belgian Prime Minister to be the last to accept the compromise.
According to rumour, the promise was accompanied by a threat that M. Chirac could always wreck the plans of the Belgian presidency in 2001. Finland tried right up to the end to have M. Chirac’s concession to Belgium, which had not been discussed at all at the Nice summit, dropped.
At a meeting of foreign ministers on 22nd January 2001, Finland gave up, allowing the foreign ministers to decide unanimously that the heads of government should sign the Treaty of Nice on 26th February.


New vote weighting for the applicant states

There were also rumours of very heated discussions when M. Chirac offered 38.7 million Poles 26 votes in the Council of Ministers, while 39.4 million Spaniards would get 28 votes from their French neighbour.
M. Chirac explained it in the European Parliament as a mere clerical error. If so, it was a very difficult one to get corrected; it took a day and a half – and some hard negotiating. The 6 in 26 refused to budge.
The outcome was that Poland and Spain were each given 27 votes, two less than the 4 biggest countries.
22.5 million Romanians were offered the same number of votes as Holland, which has 15.5 million inhabitants.
In this case, the outcome was that Romania was given 14, Holland 13 and Belgium 12. Belgium had previously had the same number as the neighbouring country of Holland, even though Holland has half as many inhabitants again.
That was how the free-for-all ended. The allocation for the member states is now contained in the Treaty of Nice. The allocation for the applicant states is contained in a declaration, which can be appli ed when the EU is enlarged by one or more of the 12 applicant states from Southern, Eastern and Central Europe.
In this declaration it can be seen that the summit did not amend all the ‘clerical errors’.
Hungary and the Czech Republic each get 20 seats in the European Parliament, even though countries with fewer inhabitants have 22 seats. The summit has thus confirmed that the Czechs and Hungarians are to be treated as inferiors.
Nevertheless, everyone is emphasising how gratifying it is that the EU has now finalised negotiation of the vote weighting and seats in the Parliament. This means that the EU is ready to admit those countries that are willing and able to accept and administer the 20,000 different laws and regulations of the EU.

Part II – Is Nice a treaty of enlargement?

There are fine words about enlargement in the introductory text of the treaty, the so-called preamble.
The high contracting parties ‘Recalling the historic importance of the ending of the division of the European continent’ and ‘to complete the process started by the Treaty of Amsterdam of preparing the institutions of the European Union to function in an enlarged Union’.
Countries are ‘determined on this basis to press ahead with the accession negotiations in order to bring them to a successful conclusion, in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Treaty on European Union’.
The preamble closes by saying that the countries ‘ Have resolved to amend the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts’.
For devotees of enlargement it augurs well. Opponents of enlargement must be down in the mouth after the apparently happy conclusion to 9 months of negotiations – and the birth of the treaty.


Problems of enlargement not discussed

How does the child look?
After this splendid preamble, one might expect it to be followed by a number of proposed solutions to the biggest problems in the negotiations. This concerns the enlargement of the EU with countries that are much poorer than we are, and organised in a different way from those in the rich part of Western Europe.
One solution might be a reform of the agricultural policy, making it possible to admit 3,7 million Polish farmers into the common agricultural policy.
Or it could be a reform of the structural funds, to allow aid to be redirected so that it particularly benefits the poorest applicant states.
It might also be a reform of the budget policy, so the countries with the broadest shoulders would end up paying rather more, while the poorest countries could be let off more lightly with regard to their contribution.
If we glance through the several hundred pages of documents from the summit, there is not a word about the real problems in the enlargement negotiations. The EU has not done the homework to enable the enlargement negotiations to be brought to a conclusion in line with the timetable drawn up by the Commission.


The official timetable for enlargement
The Commission is officially reckoning on being able to complete the negotiations before the end of 2002. The first countries would then be able to join the EU from 1st January 2004 and take part in the next election to the European Parliament in June 2004.
It is more likely that the negotiations will drag on and only be completed for the richest of the applicant states, those that will have the fewest problems adapting.
It is likely that negotiations with Poland will founder, because the expectations of the Polish farmers are not compatible with the interests of French agriculture.
If Poland is not admitted in the first round, it is hard to imagine that Estonia can be admitted in the first round as the first of the Baltic countries. It seems rather more likely that in the first round the EU will only be enlarged by 3 countries, such as Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Th ey are relatively rich in comparison with the other applicants. They have limited unemployment and agricultural production, so there can be no fear that they will create great problems in the EU.
They are also countries, which are in a position to administer a large part of the EU regulations, and which are prepared to pay the necessary contribution to join the EU club.
Nevertheless, I doubt if they will ever join the EU envisaged in the Treaty of Nice, even if the Nice Treaty, like the Amsterdam Treaty, is being recommended for ratification precisely as a treaty of enlargement.


The Treaty of Nice will be replaced by a new EU constitution in 2004

As early as 2004, a new inter-governmental conference is to approve a further change to the treaties. The German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, speaks of giving the EU countries a common constitution.
Others talk of a constitutional treaty or a fundamental treaty . Britain in particular refuses to accept these words, but they are becoming part of the debate.
The debate on the future of the Union is to be started by the Swedish and Belgian presidencies in 2001. A proposal from the Gothenburg summit is to be adopted on 15-16 June. The final timetable is to be approved at an EU summit at Laeken in Brussels on 14-15 December 2001.
After public debate, the process is to end with an inter-governmental conference to amend the Treaty of Nice in 2004.
Among other things, the changes are to include a list of competences, in which the boundaries between decisions to be taken by the EU and the member states will be more precisely determined.
The treaty is to be simplified and divided up, but without the content being changed.
The EU Charter on Fundamental and Human Rights will have its status established, perhaps by being written into the first part of the fundamental treaty or the constitution.
Finally, the role of the national parliaments within the EU is to be examined, and greater openness and democratic legitimacy created.
The constitutional process will not cause any postponement of the negotiations on enlargement. All applicant states will be invited to attend the discussions as observers. Any countries that may have completed their membership negotiations, will be able to participate fully in the negotiations on a future EU constitution or fundamental treaty.
This can be read in a declaration attached to the special enlargement protocol of the Treaty of Nice. But what does it say about enlargement in the actual Treaty of Nice.


Brief run-down of Nice

The fine introduction on the uniting of Europe is followed by a provision on how the EU can draw attention to the danger of countries in which it may be feared that ‘there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the principles…’article 7, i.e. a breach of the EU common basic and human rights.
This is a Lex Austria, which makes it legally possible to adopt the sanctions against Austria, which were initiated without any legal basis in the treaty. The possibility of introducing sanctions is, as it were, being approved with retrospective effect.
The Treaty of Nice creates a legal basis for punishing countries that might be a thorn in the flesh of 80% of EU members.
The Lex Austria provision will come into effect, whether or not the EU is enlarged.
Human rights have hitherto been monitored by the Council of Europe, the UN, the OSCE and the Baltic Council. These institutions can deal with all breaches of human rights.
What is new is that a majority within the EU is being given the opportunity to criticise and react before any breach of rules has taken place. A country can be punished for the prospect that a breach of some – incidentally very vague – rules might occur.
It is not possible, though, to deprive a country`s right to vote unless the prime ministers from all countries have agreed that the country has violated human rights. The tough rule on sanctions is not changed.


Amendments to the Treaty of Union (TEU)

The Austria provision is followed by new provisions on security and defence. The Western European Union military alliance is in practice to be amalgamated with the EU.
The EU will be allowed to set up a common military force, which can function independently of NATO, the OSCE and the UN. A start has already been made by setting up a common rapid reaction force. It is to be capable of operating up to 4000 km from Brussels, in Africa, the Middle East and areas close to Russia.
See articles 17 and 25 of the TEU.


Foreign policy representatives

Majority voting is also to be introduced for the appointment of special representatives for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. See article 23 of the TEU.
There will also be rules on how the EU can be more widely represented abroad and enter into agreements with non-EU countries. It will be possible to adopt these by majority voting within the EU. Article 24 of the TEU.
A new body – Eurojust – is to be introduced into Judicial Co-operation. Prosecutors from the member states are to meet and co-ordinate their efforts, particularly against organised crime. Articles 29 and 31 of the TEU.
Special provisions on ‘enhanced cooperation’ are being introduced. If there is qualified majority agreement within the Council of Ministers, 8 countries will be allowed to extend their co-operation and bring about further integration, while the former eastern bloc countries are making valiant efforts to catch up with the current regulations.


Changes to the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)

There is a declaration on inter-institutional agreements. The Council of Ministers does not want the Commission and the Parliament to enter into agreements outside the council. Declaration annexed to article 10 of the TEC.
Majority voting is to be introduced with regard to particular ‘Community incentive measures’ to combat discriminatory treatment on the grounds of gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or faith, disability, age or sexual orientation. Article 13 of the TEC.
There are new areas for majority voting in the decisions/resolutions, which are to make it easier for citizens of the Union to exercise their right to move and reside in the territory of the member states.’ Article 18 of the TEC.
There is a non-binding declaration that EU institutions shall answer letters ‘within a reasonable period’, whatever that means. Declaration annexed to article 21 of the TEC.
There then follows a complicated section on the gradual changeover to majority decisions in the areas of administration of justice, border control and refugee policy. Article 67.
There is also to be majority voting on EU support for countries that have suffered ‘exceptional occurrences’. Money can also be approved by majority vote for things other than countries struck by ‘natural disasters’. Article 100 of the TEC.
The EMU countries are to be allowed external representation by majority voting.
It is to be made somewhat easier to change the provisions for the governing council of the European Monetary System. Article 111 of the TEC and article 10 of the Statute.
Majority voting is to be introduced to speed up the transition to ‘a swift introduction of the ECU’. The French presidency has ‘overlooked’ the fact that the Germans succeeded in getting the name ECU, as laid down in the treaty, changed to ‘Euro’.
The common currency continues to be called ECU in the treaties, even though it is called Euro on the banknotes, which are to replace DM, francs and other EU currencies from 1st January 2002. Article 123 of the TEC.
Then follow a number of decisions that can be taken by majority vote on the Common Trade Policy and suspension of trade in various services and intellectual property rights.
The European Court has laid down that the EU must share the competence to negotiate with the member states. The EU itself cannot enter into agreements. The EU will now be given increased powers to represent the member states externally, especially in the World Trade Organisation WTO. Article 133
Article 137 introduces majority voting on social dumping and the modernisation of social security systems. A ‘ Social Protection Committee’ is set up in article 144.
Majority voting is introduced in parts of industrial policy in article 157 and the Structural Funds in articles 159 and 161.
In article 175 the environmental provisions are changed very slightly.
Article 181 A brings in a whole new section on agreements with other countries. It will be possible to decide agreements by majority vote, if the regulations are also adopted internally within the EU by majority vote.
Article 189 raises the upper limit on the maximum number of members of the European Parliament from 700 to 732. If the EU is enlarged during an election period, there could temporarily be even more.
Article 190 introduces majority voting for fixing the salaries and conditions of MEPs. However it does not apply to the taxing of their pay, which will continue to be decided by unanimity.
Article 191 permits the majority to approve EU subsidies to the common supranational political parties. The rules are to be adopted by a majority vote.
Article 207 makes the appointment of the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers and his second in command decisions that can be taken by a qualified majority of the Council of Ministers.
Then the salaries, allowances and pensions of the members of the Court of First Instance are considered in article 210.
Article 214 allows the heads of state and government of the EU member states to appoint the President of the Commission and his team of commissioners by majority vote, even though the question was not discussed at all until the last night of the summit.
The appointed President of the Commission is also to be allowed to switch the Commissioners’ tasks around and to sack commissioners he is not satisfied with. Article 217.
Then follows a series of decisions on the organisation of the court system.
According to article 247, the European Court of Auditors is to be appointed by majority vote.
The name of the Official Journal of the European Communities will be changed to Official Journal of the European Union. Article 254.
The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions are also to be appointed by majority voting. Articles 257 and 263.
It appears from article 266 that changes to the rules of the European Investment Bank will be allowed, without amendments being made to the actual treaty.
From the year 2007, it will be possible to change the EU accounting rules by majority vote. Article 279.
This is followed by regulations on the language procedures of the Court.
There is also a technical rule on ‘establishing the positions to be adopted on behalf of the Community in a body set up by an agreement, when that body is called upon to adopt decisions having legal effects’. Article 300.
In article 300 para. 6, the European Parliament is also allowed to go to the Court with cases concerning the compatibility of projected agreements with European law.


The protocol on enlargement abolishes the protocol on enlargement

Then, at long last, on page 71 of the 108-page document, we finally come across: ‘Protocol on the enlargement of the European Union’.
Until page 71, all the proposed changes had dealt with the Union’s own rules. Nowhere at all did we come across changes concerning the actual enlargement.
So what does it say in the so-called enlargement protocol? Is the new protocol any better than the rules for enlargement to be found in the Treaty of Amsterdam?
The Amsterdam Treaty was approved by a referendum in Denmark on 28th May 1998. At this point the Danes were also given a promise that the Amsterdam Treaty was a treaty of enlargement.
It would be possible to enlarge the EU with the first five countries and go from fifteen to twenty countries, with no further amendments to the treaties.
All that would be needed was a slight adjustment to the weighting of the votes of the five biggest EU member states in the Council of Ministers, in compensation for agreeing to give up their second seat on the Commission to the applicant states.
Instead of having more votes, they could also end up with a so-called ‘double majority’. Laws would first have to have a qualified majority in the Council of Ministers. Then it would also have to be established that this majority would, at the same time, represent countries with at least half of the population of the EU.
At the Amsterdam summit two different draft versions of new vote weighting were discussed. They would give proportionately 20 or 25% more influence to the five biggest countries as payment for the second commissioner’s post.
What does it now say about enlargement in the new enlargement protocol?  
It says: ‘The Protocol on the institutions with the prospect of enlargement of the European Union, annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaties establishing the European Communities, is hereby repealed’.
So the enlargement protocol abolishes the existing enlargement protocol, according to which the EU can be enlarged from 15 to 20 countries without difficulty.
Instead, important changes to the treaties now have to be put into effect, before the EU can be enlarged from 15 to 16 countries.


Small countries will lose influence, regardless of any possible enlargement

Furthermore, the EU is to have new vote weighting in the Council of Ministers and the composition of the European Parliament is to be changed – both regardless of whether the EU is enlarged or not. Whatever happens, the new voting weighting will come into effect on 1st January 2005.
In the enlargement protocol of the Amsterdam Treaty, the increased weighting is only to come into force after enlargement, and only when the five big countries have handed over their second commissioner post.


Certainly lose the seat on the Commission

In the new enlargement protocol to the Treaty of Nice, there now follow provisions on the composition of the Commission. Here it is mentioned for the first time that the EU can consist of 27 members.
‘When the Union consists of 27 Member States’…’The number of Members of the Commission shall be less than the number of Member States. The Members of the Commission shall be chosen according to a rotation system based on the principle of equality, the implementing arrangements for which shall be adopted by the Council, acting unanimously’.
This change will only be put into effect when the EU is enlarged to 27 countries. Until then each country will keep its commissioner – precisely as they were promised in the ‘enlargement treaty’ of Amsterdam.
So the first time we come across the concept of enlargement – after the fine words of introduction in the preamble – is where we are presented with the prospect of maybe losing our seat on the Commission at some stage.
Neither vote weighting nor seats in the European Parliament have as yet been allocated to the 12 applicant states.
The Amsterdam Treaty states that the EU can be enlarged according to the existing rules. New countries will have a commissioner, like the existing members. New countries will get the number of votes, which the size of their population entitles them to under the criteria that have been used to allocate votes among the present member states. The figures have been published in tables and working papers, without giving rise to discussion.
Yet the Amsterdam Treaty says that the European Parliament cannot be enlarged to more than 700 seats. So, when parliament is filled up with new members, we must or might have to expect a relative reduction in seats from the number we have out of the present total membership of 626.


Promises to new member states are not binding

Now the chance of easy enlargement is being taken away. Instead the applicant states are being given a political promise of seats in the European Parliament and the other institutions and votes in the Council of Ministers.
The figures for the new members are shown in a new table, which is not a part of the Treaty of Nice, but a so-called “Declaration number 20 on the enlargement of the European Union’.’.
Protocols are legally binding in the same way as the provisions of a treaty. By contrast, declarations have no legal value. We can therefore establish that the Treaty of Nice removes – from the institutional point of view – easy access to enlargement, which was possible under the provisions of the Amsterdam Treaty, and replaces it with a political promise of a number of votes and seats.
The number of seats does not always match the population figures.
Hungary has 10.092 million inhabitants and is offered 20 seats in the European Parliament. Portugal has 22 seats for 9.98 million inhabitants.
The Czech Republic has 10.29 million inhabitants and is offered 20 seats, while Belgium has 22 seats for its 10.213 million inhabitants.
In return for the prospect of enlargement, voters in all the EU member states will have to accept a large number of changes to the EU rules, which have no connection with enlargement.
On previous occasions when the EU was enlarged, the existing rules were used to allocate seats and votes. Now there is a new shift of power in favour of the big countries – without any guarantee that the EU will be enlarged.


Other matters contained in the Treaty of Nice

There are also – non-binding – declarations on raising the qualified majority in the Council of Ministers from 71.3 % to 73.4% of the votes. This is to take place in stages, until all the applicant states have joined the EU.
Belgium is given a non-binding declaration, which says that from the year 2002 half the summit meetings can be held in Belgium. All summit meetings are to be held in Brussels from such time as the EU has 18 members, rather than the present 15.
Finally there is the aforementioned declaration on the future of the union, which is to end with a new fundamental treaty orconstitution in the year 2004.
The fundamental treaty, constitutional treaty, constitution, or whatever it may come to be called, will presumably be adopted before the EU is enlarged by any new countries.
The Treaty of Nice is being presented as a treaty of enlargement, but it will be replaced by a completely new treaty – or constitution – before this enlargement takes place.
By voting in favour of the Treaty of Nice, we will be putting ourselves under a political obligation to take the next steps, which are set out in the declaration. Legally, we are only bound by treaties and protocols.
We cannot call for the declarations and promises made at the inter-governmental conference to be taken up in a lower court.
Last of all in the Treaty of Nice comes a protocol concerning the statute of the European Court and various transitional provisions to do with the European Coal and Steel Community, which is to be repealed.
So all in all there is not much about enlargem ent to be drawn from the document, which was approved at 4.24.a.m. on Monday 11th December 2000 under the chairmanship of the French president.


Signed in Nice in February 2001

The proposed changes were finalised and had the finishing touches applied by linguistic and legal experts, and were signed at a ceremonial meeting in Nice on 26th February 2001.
Now the Treaty of Nice is sent for endorsement – ratification – by the member states. When all 15 countries have endorsed it in accordance with their constitutional requirements and given notice of this, the Treaty of Nice can come into force.

Part III – Consequences of the Treaty of Nice


A treaty of deepening rather than widening

Enlargement is no nearer with the Treaty of Nice than it was after the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Since the wall came down in 1989 we have had a real chance to unite Europe.
In applicant states they say: ‘Enlargement is always a couple of years away’.
The truth about the Treaty of Nice is that it is a treaty of deepening rather than widening. It does not have the necessary flexibility for a successful enlargement involving countries in very different positions. On the other hand, it does include a timetable for much greater integration, which will make enlargement even more difficult for the applicant states.
Certainly there is talk of enlargement negotiations. The truth is that there are no negotiations with the applicant states about the possibility of their being allowed to retain one particular law, where the EU has another. The possibility of the EU changing its rules in favour of a better idea from an applicant state, or simply allowing different laws is not to be found.
The purpose of all the so-called negotiations is to establish when the applicant states can adopt EU rules instead of their own. Not one single permanent exception to or derogation from EU regulations is being negotiated. The only agreements being made are for transitional arrangements establishing when the various EU regulations are to come into force in the applicant states.
The more rules the EU brings in, the more transitional arrangements are needed and the more difficult enlargement becomes. The core of the Treaty of Nice is 34 new decisions that can be taken by majority vote on which countries can be voted down. There were 108 already, plus 75 decisions requiring unanimity. In the Treaty of Nice we have 71 decisions requiring unanimity and 138 demanding qualified majority.
So the Treaty of Nice will lead to more laws and rules on top of the 26,000 documents, which the EU has sent the applicant states. There will be many other things to discuss.
The innovation appearing in the Treaty of Nice is enhanced co-operation, under which some countries will push ahead and form a club within the club, with a further set of rules. When applicant states comply with the rules of the EU club, they are allowed to join the club, whose members are engaged in forming a whole new club without their participation.
Looked at objectively, the treaty of Nice makes it harder, not easier, to enlarge the EU. Conversely the Treaty of Nice can also be regarded as the price that has to be paid for enlargement.
Supporters of integration make use of every opportunity to demand more majority decisions. They have done the same before, during and after every enlargement, both with and without reference to the enlargements.
Many federalists will not accept enlargement without concurrent or prior deepening.
Why pay this price, with no guarantee of enlargement? Why not at least insist that the Treaty of Nice should only be put into effect when the EU has been enlarged by more than the five countries, which can be admitted according to the enlargement protocol of the Amsterdam Treaty without major changes to the rules?

Part IV – Another Europe


My European house

The core of the Treaty of Nice is not enlargement, but deepening: more integration, more union. The national parliaments of the member states will lose more of their legislative powers to EU civil servants and ministers. So the Treaty of Nice means less democracy, in the same way as the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Those who recommend voters to agree to the changes to the treaty, which mean more union and less democracy, always call themselves Europeans. Those who want to keep as much democracy as possible and who want a Europe for all European countries are called ‘anti-Europeans’.
What is European about wanting to reduce the influence of voters in favour of civil servants, ministers – and the multinational companies in the global market. They are also given a greater say through the Treaty of Nice?
Why is it anti-European to support the idea that the voters should have the last word on European issues too?
Critics of the Union are just as much Europeans as the supporters of the Union. We do not support the USA, China or Japan; we are not Americans or Asians.
Being critical of the display of force and over-intrusive government from Brussels does not have to mean you are xenophobic. It simply means you are an ordinary democrat, who does not see diversity as a problem.
Most Europeans perceive diversity as the richness of Europe. We should defend our right to be different, particularly when it does not interfere with other Europeans’ right to choose for themselves.
Freedom also entails responsibility for those who cannot look after themselves, and a duty to help those who are worse off than we are. Freedom presupposes a certain degree of equality, otherwise it becomes freedom for the few and lack of freedom for the many.
We cannot have a well-ordered European household, if many are living in the utmost poverty and are so despairing of the economy that they prefer to leave home and become illegal immigrants in our countries.
It is not a lasting solution merely to protect the rich nations’ club by reinforcing the frontier police at the common external borders of the Union and to have increased internal controls on discotheques and motorways, instead of at the old borders between the EU member states.
A ‘Fortress Europe’ with common police and armed forces, which only slowly and gradually admits the richest applicant states into the EU, is not a proper solution for the many countries in Eastern and Central Europe, which have been kept down in poverty and servitude by the partition of Europe.


The EU has won a victory over the Council of Europe and EFTA.

True Europeans want to bring together the whole of Europe, not under centralised government by civil servants and ministers, but in freedom and co-operation and mutual respect for diversity.
Ideally, the best solution would be to dissolve the present EU and, at a stroke, create a new community for all the nations of Europe. But it is not that simple. The Council of Europe, which includes all the nations of Europe, is also weak. The EU is in a strong position, despite the fact that the decision-making process is closed and undemocratic.
The supranational EU has won the battle for the organisation of Europe. The EU began as a common market for ‘The Six’, while the Free Trade Association EFTA had seven member countries and was known as ‘The Seven’.
Today EFTA has only 4 members: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In the course of several rounds of accession, Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Portugal have abandoned EFTA in favour of the EU.  
The EU now has 15 member states and 13 applicant states, if we include Turkey. An application for membership from Switzerland is on ice, because the Swiss rejected the EEA agreement in a referendum. In March 2001 they also rejected new negotiations on EU-membership in a referendum.
The EU has so-called Europe agreements with all the applicant states and now decides the majority of economic legi slation in the applicant states.
Norway and Iceland photocopy all the EU laws to do with the Single European Market and now also all the laws arising from the so-called Schengen acquis.
The applicant states readily introduce EU legislation as a part of the application process, perhaps without ever being admitted as members.
The Treaty of Amsterdam made the Schengen acquis part of the EU. Norway and Iceland are therefore a kind of colonies for the civil servants and ministers in Brussels in the matter of collaboration on laws and the internal market. In other areas, they can make their own decisions. The EU determines the law for Norwegian and Icelandic voters in two important areas. Norway and Iceland will also be sending men and equipment to the future EU rapid reaction force, which Denmark will have no part in.
Norwegian legislation banning food additives is invalidated in the same way as the Danish regulations. Norwegian opposition to patenting life is also heading for a fall. The Commission is pressing hard and it now has a government in Norway, which prefers EU membership to the current EEA agreement. The majority in the Storting would happily allow itself to be pressured into giving up the last divergent rules.
In Europe, only Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldavia have not committed themselves to sitting in the photocopying room and receiving important laws by fax and email from Brussels.
This is the reality. As it is for those of us who dreamed of a far more generous Europe, with equality between the countries and mutually advantageous co-operation on all the matters we cannot cope with ourselves by means of decisions in our own parliamentary democracy.


Yugoslavia will seek membership of the EU

Yugoslavia, under the newly elected President Kostunica, will also be seeking membership of the EU. He announced this at a meeting of the European Parliament in November 2000.
At a subsequent closed session of the Conference of Presidents, Mr Kostunica got off to a bad start by making complimentary remarks about the former president of France Charles de Gaulle’s thoughts on ‘the Europe of fatherlands’.
That is a dirty word in the Conference of Presidents. This is where the leaders of the supranational EU party groups sit. For most of them Europe means more power centred in Brussels and especially more power for the European Parliament. Mr Kostunica’s vision for Europe corresponds more closely to my dream of a Europe of fatherlands, nations and democracies.
In time he will no doubt be called to order. He will no doubt have to learn to speak, even against the blessed de Gaulle.
The former French president is particularly unpopular in EU circles, because he boycotted all the meetings of the EEC Council of Ministers from July 1965 to January 1966 and forced through the famous Luxembourg Compromise by using his right of veto on everything.
Now the right of veto is a thing of the past. The EU rules mostly with majority decisions taken behind closed doors, where no electors or elected representatives of the people can witness what is happening.
The Treaty of Nice adds 34 new areas for majority voting to the previous situation of 108 in the Amsterdam Treaty, which already meant that 80% of European legislation was passed by majority decision, before Nice.


More Union – less democracy

Now it might be closer to 90% of laws, which can be passed by majority vote and still come to apply, even in those countries that vote against them – and in most European countries outside the EU.
This reduces diversity. Multinational companies find it easier to comprehend the legislation, because there is only one kind of law in every country. It is almost impossible to get a qualified majority in the EU against the interests of multinational companies.
The contributory influence of the voters is reduced.
Freedom loses out, not to equality, but to standardisation – and inequality. There will not be equa lly good opportunities for the richest and poorest countries to come closer together in an orderly fashion, accompanied by democracy and welfare.
There will be more union, but not more community, welfare or democracy. This may lead to popular uprisings in those countries that join the Union – they come to realise that, what they thought was paradise, was certainly a club for the rich. However, the rich countries kept a pretty tight hold on their wealth; they were no longer prepared to hand it out in the lavish way they did with Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
There was no democracy, the most precious thing of all, which they had fought for in internal or external exile. It was they, not we, who knocked down the wall and made the unification of Europe possible.
The Soviet Union was a federation of 15 member states. This union has now been dissolved and replaced by new, independent nations and communities with greater freedom among them.
In Yugoslavia, the union collapsed as a result of war.


A different kind of enlargement

Most Eastern European countries have made huge efforts in order to join the EU. They have cut down public expenditure and introduced a primitive market economy without our kind of social provisions for the many people who have been given the sack.
They are still not getting what they see as the prize: promotion to the Euroleague; becoming members of the promised EU, which they read nothing but good about in the newspapers – which are now owned mainly from within the EU.
The East Europeans will be shocked when they come face to face with the everyday reality and Estonia sends hundreds of civil servants to Brussels, where some of them will have a salary 50 times that of many Estonians.
Elderly people in Hungary will protest loudly when they are no longer able to get a beer or a vodka for a coin worth 0.12 euro at the local Sunday market.
There may be unrest and national tension in the Czech Republic, if rich Germans are given free rein to buy land and buildings and holiday homes in the Sudetenland.
What will the citizens say, when new towns are devastated by big factory closures determined by the EU competition authorities or the head offices of distant multinationals?
How will people react, when the old low prices for rents, water, electricity and petrol rise sharply, without an accompanying rise in wages and pensions for all?
It is not easy to unite countries at such different stages of development in a common, standardised market. It requires all problems to be put on the table and solved, before enlargement breaks out. Or else it demands a different type of enlargement negotiations from those now underway, which have only one aim: all new member states must have the same laws as us.


Enlargement to suit the lobbying organisations

Why must they? It is not something ordinary East Europeans have asked for. It is not something West Europeans have asked for or demonstrated for.
The enlargement strategy is, in the main, devised by the multinational companies’ think tanks, and has won support among officials and ministers in Brussels.
The important lobbying organisation ERT, the European Round Table of Industrialists, has compo sed the first draft enlargement plans. ERT also drew up the first plans for the Single European Market, the Transeuropean Net, the Maastricht Treaty and the Monetary Union.
Companies with international operations also see Eastern and Central Europe as a cheap, well-educated workforce and a gigantic market for their sales.
It is fair enough that businesses should look after their own interests, but politics and business interests are not the same thing. The art of politics is to make it a tool for people, for the electors.


Time for adjustment, money for development

Enlargement should therefore be planned in a way that puts people before the
market; makes the market the servant instead of the master; and allows sufficient time for the inevitable readjustment, so that it will be easier to understand for the people living in those countries, not just for those investing in them.
Enlargement should also be planned within the EU countries, so that those who lose their jobs to cheaper labour from the east are given a chance to find other jobs and do not react by becoming xenophobic.
We must be willing to pay, if we wish to unite our continent. Countries inside the EU are not queuing up to pay higher contributions. Rich countries like Sweden, Holland, Germany and Austria have just demanded a reduction, so they do not have to pay their full share of the cost of enlargement.
The reunification of East Germany with West Germany happened at a stroke. Thousands of companies in the east were closed down. The West Germans were prepared to give financial support and exchange East German Marks at a huge premium.
More is given to 18 million East Germans than to over 100 million East Europeans. That tells us something about the difficulties of enlargement. We pretend we are on the way to admitting all 12 applicant countries. If that happens on the current terms, it will be a catastrophe. If it does not happen, it will give rise to disappointment.
Different methods and aims are needed, if enlargement is to unite Europe rather than creating discord.


A more flexible Europe

If the aim is to ensure that all EU laws are to apply in the applicant states and be administered in the same way as inside the EU, enlargement will inevitably be deferred, because no applicant states can make such big adjustments in such a short time.
The aim should therefore be changed, so the applicant states do not have to adopt the whole of EU legislation. It should be possible for them to make do with the minimum of rules necessary for a common market.
Does a company, which only supplies goods to the local market, really have to conform to all the EU standards? Could we not allow the applicant states to decide more for themselves in their own countries and only make European legislation apply to those companies that export goods to the EU?
Must a town, which only has one major factory, be forced to have it closed down, because it is kept going by a subsidy which contravenes EU competition rules? Could we not allow much longer transitional regulations than those normally applied to new EU members?  

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