Thursday, 26 January 2012

History of European Integration V:
Amsterdam and Nice Treaty

The fifth and last short text of this assignment is about the treaties laying the ground for enlarging the European Union East and South. Thank you for reading, and for quoting correctly.

Both the Treaty of Amsterdam, signed in 1997 and entered into force in 1999, and the Nice Treaty, signed in 2001 and entered into force in 2003, are amendments of the Treaty on European Union. They were designed to prepare for a vast enlargement that was approaching realisation in the course of the decade following the collapse of the authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. A European Union of twice as many member states called for modifications of the decision-making procedures in order to stay effective.

Changes were to a large extent of a mathematical nature, in terms of vote weightings and numbers of European Parliament members per country. In the centre of these discussions — or battles — were the balance between big and small member states, as well as internally between the big member states, notably founding members France and the meanwhile reunified and now thus much larger Germany. 1 2

None of the two treaties really managed to provide a satisfactory framework for the wished-for improved effectiveness. That is how talks of a European Union constitution started and ultimately the Lisbon Treaty became the new legal framework for continuous European integration.

by Bjørn Clasen, 2011

1 Hartmut Marhold: History of European Integration, — Monetary Union, Amsterdam Treaty and “left overs”, and — In the lowlands of integration policy: the Nice Treaty (Course text for the participants of the Certificate and first year of the Master programme of the Centre international de formation européenne
2 The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)

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