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1 - The institutional development of the EU post-Lisbon

A case of plus ça change…?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Diamond Ashiagbor
Affiliation:
University of London
Nicola Countouris
Affiliation:
University College London
Ioannis Lianos
Affiliation:
University College London
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Summary

…DESIRING to complete the process started by the Treaty of Amsterdam and by the Treaty of Nice with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and to improving the coherence of its action,

HAVE RESOLVED to amend the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community…

Final recitals of the preamble to the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007

Introduction

To remain masters of their destiny, six European countries agreed to establish among themselves a European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. To remain masters of their creation, the national governments devised a rather unique institutional system whose fundamental features can only be amended by unanimity. In fact, to enter into force, any amendment made to the European founding treaties has always required ratification by all Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. Remarkably, this demanding procedural requirement has not precluded a spectacular ‘widening’ of the membership of what is now known as the European Union as well as a considerable ‘deepening’ of the competences conferred on the EU by its Member States. Indeed, from an organisation originally consisting of six countries with a narrow focus on economic matters, the EU has grown beyond recognition. Its twenty-seven Member States now pursue an extensive and diverse set of objectives amongst which one may mention the promotion of balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, the implementation of a common foreign and security policy and the tackling of cross-border crime. To effectively pursue these objectives, the EU has also gradually gained the power to legislate in the areas of monetary policy, social policy, environment, consumer protection, asylum and immigration, amongst other things.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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