Convention Praesidium proposes articles on enhanced cooperation

The Convention’s Praesidium has proposed draft articles of the Constitution on enhanced cooperation which aim to simplify the current provisions and reinforce the role of the Commission and the European Parliament.

Here is the summary of the draft articles on enhanced cooperation, proposed by the Convention’s Praesidium:

  • Enhanced cooperation is aimed at reinforcing the process of European integration.
  • Authorisation to proceed with enhanced cooperation shall be granted by the Council when such cooperation cannot be attained by the Union as a whole and provided that it brings together at least one third of the Member States.
  • The Council will give its authorisation of enhanced cooperation acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the assent of the European Parliament, except for the area of common foreign and security policy.
  • In the framework of the common foreign and security policy, the Council will ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs for opinion on whether the enhanced cooperation is consistent with the Union’s common foreign and security policy.
  • Only representatives of the Member States participating in enhanced cooperation shall take part in the adoption of acts adopted within the Council.
  • Acts adopted in the framework of enhanced cooperation shall only bind those Member States taking part in such cooperation.
  • Enhanced cooperation shall be open to all Member States, at any time.
  • Expenditure resulting from implementation of enhanced cooperation, other than administrative costs entailed for the institutions, shall be borne by the participating Member States, unless all members of the Council decide otherwise.


TheBertelsmann Research Groupsays that "European disunity provokes calls for differentiated integration whenever there is an international crisis". A group of Member States "that is both willing and able should act as an avant-garde and in this circuitous way achieve a common European policy". The Bertelsmann Research Group argues that differentiated integration will be a central factor for the success of any future European foreign, security and defence policy. It adds that the parallel enlargement and deepening of the European Union is inconceivable without the principle of differentiation.


The mechanism for enhanced cooperation was introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam and amended by the Treaty of Nice. Enhanced cooperation is applied where an action cannot be carried through with all the Member States participating. Under the current provisions, the Council may, acting by a qualified majority, authorise a minimum of eight Member States to go ahead with enhanced cooperation. Enhanced cooperation may be allowed in principle in all areas covered by the Treaty, with the exception of matters having military or defence implications.


The 105-member European Convention will debate the first complete draft of the Constitutional Treaty at its next working session on 30 and 31 May. The Convention will submit its final draft to the EU leaders at the Thessaloniki European Council on 20 June.

The future Constitutional Treaty will be adopted by the EU leaders at an intergovernmental conference, due to start after the last of the accession referendums in the future Member States. The last accession referendum is scheduled in Latvia for 20 September 2003.


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