L'Europe en formation: Explaining Constitutional Treaty

L'Europe en formation: Explaining Constitutional Treaty

Article for L'Europe en formation (No 4, 2004)

"Enter the Member States: An Analysis and Evaluation of the Intergovernmental Conference 2003-2004."

Finn Laursen

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Professor of International Politics and Jean Monnet Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Southern Denmark, Odense.

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Introduction

At the time of the Laeken summit in December 2001 the Member States of the EU decided to have a Convention prepare the next treaty reform, but they made sure that they would take over after the Convention by then holding a traditional Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). Even if the Convention had involved a number of members of national parliaments and the European Parliament along with representatives of the member state governments the latter insisted on staying the 'masters of the treaty'. They wanted to be as much in control as possible. They therefore duly organized the IGC, which took place from October 2003 until June 2004.

In this paper we start by briefly reminding the reader of the main contents of the Draft Constitutional Treaty produced by the Convention on the Future of Europe, from 28 February 2002 until mid July 2003. Next we will see how the proposal fared during IGC 2003-2004. How much of the text did the member states change and why? Further, we will try to evaluate the treaty: What are its strengths and weaknesses? And at the end we will briefly touch upon ratification of the Constitutional Treaty: What kind of battles lies ahead?

Dr. Finn Laursen