During his political career, Jacques Chirac, who died on Thursday (26 September), made a complete U-turn on Europe, from calling Europe a "mollusc" in 1979 to becoming a European of reason, then of heart. EURACTIV's partner Ouest-France reports.
The UK would seek EU opt-outs on directives affecting labour rights and financial services regulation if eurozone countries adopt fundamental treaty changes, Prime Minister David Cameron told the UK parliament on Tuesday (6 September).
"History teaches us that the EU progresses through crises, and we can but hope that history repeats itself," writes Stanley Crossick, founding director of the European Policy Centre, in a May post on Blogactiv.
After eight years of struggle and soul-searching, the European Union's reform treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. EU leaders believe the Lisbon Treaty will rejuvenate the decision-making apparatus of the EU institutions, making the functioning of the 27-member Union more efficient and democratic.
MPs in the UK have rejected a proposal put forward by the opposition Conservatives to hold a popular referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, paving the way for the text to be ratified via parliamentary vote.
The EU's Reform Treaty has actually produced two treaties: "a treaty on the EU, which contains most of the institutional provisions, and a second treaty on the functioning of the Union", write Daniel Gros and Stefano Micossi of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).
The draft Reform Treaty, adopted by the EU 27 at the Lisbon Council on 18 and 19 October is "modest but makes it possible to break the institutional stalemate", writes Jean-Dominique Giuliani in an October paper from the Robert Schuman Foundation.
It is not a foregone conclusion that the 'committee of wise men' proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy to reshape the EU's future will be a success, and it is vital to prevent it from being "instrumentalised in the political arena", argues a new Spotlight Europe paper.
The EU may be able to breathe more easily after exit polls in yesterday's (21 October) Polish parliamentary elections signalled the end of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's two-year reign, which was characterised by frequent confrontations with other member states.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised "the fullest Parliamentary debate" over the EU's new treaty agreed in Lisbon last week but once again ruled out holding a referendum, saying the substance of the new text is different from the defunct EU Constitution.
EU foreign ministers voiced optimism that the last stumbling blocks to an agreement on the new Reform Treaty could be overcome at a crucial summit in Lisbon this week, with diplomats even considering adding new items to the agenda in order to keep leaders busy.
Under increasing pressure from the Conservatives to hold a referendum on the EU's new treaty, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will veto any agreement that does not respect the country's hard-fought "red lines".
The Portuguese Presidency has unveiled a legally-updated version of the EU's new Reform Treaty, ahead of a key summit in Lisbon on 18-19 October. But Poland has already threatened to reject the text, which fails to satisfy its demands for stronger voting rights.
Frans Timmermans, Dutch Minister for EU Affairs, is confident that Parliament will support the government's decision to avoid a referendum on the new EU treaty. But at the same time, he concedes that more needs to be done to gain the support of the Dutch public, which he says is currently "quite low". He shared his views on this and other EU topics with EURACTIV Slovakia.
The Reform Treaty is a "relatively small step" in the EU’s institutional development, marking "neither a major development" nor a "substantial change of direction" in that process, writes Brendan Donnelly of the Federal Union.
The Dutch government has ruled out holding a popular vote on the EU's 'Reform Treaty', in order to avert a rerun of the referendum in which Dutch citizens rejected the European Constitution two years ago. However, opposition parties could still oppose the decision in Parliament.
The field of Justice and Home Affairs is among those most "fundamentally changed" by the Reform Treaty, write Sergio Carrera and Florian Geyer in a 17 August 2007 paper for the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).
The UK prime minister met with his German counterpart Angela Merkel, amid increasing pressure to hold a referendum on the new EU Treaty as trade unions joined forces with Conservatives and Eurosceptics.
In this July 2007 online dossier, Marco Overhaus and Hanns W. Maull of Deutsche-Aussenpolitik.de take ''a first systematic stock'' of Germany's EU Presidency - which ended on 31 June 2007 - by comparing the ''stated goals before the presidency'' with ''the actual results at the end of the term''.
On 23 July, the EU launched an Intergovernmental Conference to provide a legal basis for the June Summit's political agreement, and prepare a text to revise the current treaties. Jean-Dominique Giuliani of the Robert Schuman Foundation outlines the new perspectives that will potentially become European policy following this turning point.
The EU is set to launch an Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels today (23 July) to revise its institutions and power-sharing system amid growing calls in the UK to submit the draft 'Reform Treaty' to a referendum.
Despite some criticism, Socialist MEP Jo Leinen thinks the EU's draft ‘Reform Treaty’ represents a ‘huge improvement’ compared to the Nice Treaty currently in force. But he warns that if Poland tries to drive the rest of the EU crazy once more, it may receive a 'red card' from the Portuguese Presidency.
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