Amsterdam Treaty: Limited Institutional Reforms

Amsterdam Treaty: Limited Institutional Reforms


Institutions and Procedures: The Limited Reforms

Finn Laursen

[Chapter from Finn Laursen, ed. The Amsterdam Treaty, Odense University Press 2002]


The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) which negotiated the Amsterdam Treaty was called under Article N(2) of the Maastricht Treaty. Article B in that Treaty referred to the IGC as a possible forum for considering whether the policies and forms of cooperation, which were introduced by the treaty, should be revised to ensure the effectiveness of the mechanisms and institutions of the Community. More specifically, Article 189B(8) mentioned the scope of co-decision as an item for the agenda of the IGC. The Treaty further mentioned Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) (Art. J 10) and the role of the Western European Union (WEU) (Art. J 4(6)) as agenda items for the IGC. This, of course, included institutional issues, especially the question of whether the role of the Commission in the second pillar should be increased.

The European Council meeting in Brussels 10-11 December 1993 was more specific: the IGC should look at the role of the European Parliament, the number of members of the Commission, the weights of member states' votes in the Council and the efficiency of the institutions (EC-Bulletin 12-1993, point I.17). Thus, it was a clear idea from the outset that the role, composition and functions of EU institutions would be central items on the agenda.

Dr. Finn Laursen