Risks and opportunities of an EU institutional relaunch

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

According to Jean-Louis Quermonne, professor at the Instituts d’Etudes Politiques in Grenoble and Paris, the risks of failure of an institutional relaunch – or a watered-down agreement – are numerous.

In a policy paper, Jean-Louis Quermonne outlines the key questions that will be discussed by the negotiators at the June summit: What should be changed to address concerns revealed at the time of the referenda? How to preserve, on the contrary, the main parts of the compromises reached during the European Convention, which prepared the draft treaty? 

The study highlights the elements on which the agreement was outlined and those that still pose a problem. Commenting on the issue of what should be preserved from the rejected Constitution, Quermonne opposes the viewpoint of the member states that have already ratified the Treaty – calling for the preservation of most of the rejected text – and also that of the countries that have rejected it. 

The latter call for a mini-Treaty or, at least, a simplified Treaty, which would suppress the third part of the initial document, settling for institutional changes. According to the author, even if a few propositions have been made to conciliate those divergent points of view, much leeway is given to the negotiators of the European Summit. 

Concerning possible innovations of the new Constitutional Treaty, Jean-Louis Quermonne refers to Phillipe Herzog’s New Single Act  proposal which is underpinned by three key projects: sustainable development, a knowledge society, and the full employment of human potential. 

The author finally draws attention to the issue of ratification procedure and of a two-speed Europe that “became familiar with enhanced European co-operation”. The paper also points out that the deadline for a new Treaty is set by the Nice Treaty, which requires the number of Commissioners to be reduced once the number of member states reaches 27. 

In case no agreement on a new Constitutional Treaty is reached at the European Summit, the EU would be content with a minimalist text in order to reach the July 2009 deadline. Later, a newly established Convention could empower Europe with a real Constitution, concludes the paper. 

To access the full policy paper on Notre Europe’s website, click here[FR]

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