How to change the EU Treaties: an overview of revision procedures under the Lisbon Treaty

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Various procedures already exist for pursuing changes to the Lisbon Treaty, writes Peadar ó Broin, an associate research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).

This is a summarised version of a CEPS policy brief on revising the Lisbon Treaty.

"Less than a year has passed since the Lisbon Treaty became part of EU law, thereby bringing to an end almost a decade of intergovernmental wrangling over EU institutional reform. Yet despite its protracted ratification process and pledges from national administrations and EU authorities that the Lisbon Treaty had closed the issue of treaty reform for the foreseeable future, a number of modifications to the EU treaties are currently in the pipeline.

One such proposal, relating to the number of seats in the European Parliament, has already left the drawing board and is presently pending national ratification. But perhaps most significant are those proposals that could amount to major treaty reform in areas such as the Franco-German Declaration of Deauville, which proposes significant changes in the area of economic and monetary union and, possibly also institutional reform."

The policy brief concludes:

"The member states remain the 'Masters of the Treaties', but they have agreed in the Lisbon Treaty distinct amendment procedures that apply to different categories of reform. Attempting to 'piggy back' treaty reform on an Art. 49 TEU accession treaty procedure would surely be considered an attempt to escape the more onerous provisions of Art. 48 TEU. Considerations such as these will weigh on any treaty reform proposal and will therefore shape the political process associated with treaty change."

To read the full seven pages of the policy brief, please click here.

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