A new European Treaty

reform-treaty In the night from 19th to 20th October, the leaders of the 27 European countries agreed the proposed draft of the ‘Reform Treaty’ which was being finalised in the preceding months after the heated July conference.

This agreement is a victory for all pro-Europeans, not because of the content itself, but mainly because it will allow it to proceed towards possible more radical changes in its structure. If the treaty would not have been accepted, the EU might had been plunged into another ‘depression’ even deeper than that which followed the French and Netherlands ‘NO’ to the European Constitution. As I have mentioned in my previous article, the treaty strengthens the power of Brussels as against national governments, which is in areas outside tremendously important common foreign and defense policy something I cannot agree with, yet it is better than to stand still or even to question the very necessity of the European integration.

The more integrated Union will mean that the politicians will have to engage even more with the European affairs and we will have more opportunities to restructure the Union to our bidding.

(the draft document approved in October is available to download from here)

 

The new European treaty in short:

  • the current fundamental treatises establishing the EU will not be supplanted by the new Treaty (as was planned with the rejected European Constitution)
  • the EU will receive the full legal personality and will thus be able to sign international treatises
  • the current post of ‘President-in-Office‘ of the European Council (held by the head of government of the country that actually has the presidency of the EU for half a year) will be exchanged by a post of the ‘President of the European Council’ elected by the new qualified majority voting system for two and half years.
  • there will be a common representative on foreign affairs for European Union, although he will not be called the ‘Union Foreign Minister‘ but ‘High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’ and the current post of ‘European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy’, also the High Representative will become the European Commission’s vice-president and have his or hers own diplomatic corps
  • the number of Euro-commissioners will be decreased from the current 27 to two thirds of the number of the member states as of 2014
  • the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (formerly a part of the rejected European Constitution) is moved to the appendix and will be legally binding for all members except Britain (one of her ‘red lines’ – opted out) and Poland
  • the current Nice Treaty voting system will be replaced by the qualified majority voting system as of 2017 (from 2014 to 2017 there will be a so-called ‘transitory phase’, where officially the new qualified majority system will be put into effect, but the states will be able to use the old Nice Treaty system whenever they wish)
  • the Treaty does not have a ‘constitutional’ character – i.e. there is no notice of common anthem or flag
  • the rights of the members’ national governments will be enlarged, so they can appeal the European Commission to reassess their decisions
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