Bloggers for Europe
30Sep/09Off

60 Boring technical changes in Lisbon and how they’ll help the EU function

Posted at 10:25 pm by Owen Rooney

The other week Jason posted an excellent and entertaining article on his 5 Reasons to vote Yes, including the following:

4. It improves the EU in loads of technical ways which you really don't want me to list here. I mean, we'll get them for you if you want, but only if you promise to read them. There'll be a test.

Well, it seems reader Fergus O'Rourke has challenged us to come up with the list, and I don't want it to be said that Bloggers for Europe won't debate the treaty right down to the most obscure, narcolepsy-inducing technicalities. One word of warning, though; this is going to be probably the most boring post on the Lisbon Treaty you'll ever read. I'm going to be talking about the ways in which the Commission can help develop common techniques to monitor occupational hygiene across member states. There'll be arguments for the changes to comitology procedure, a subject so boring that it makes that priest with the really boring voice from Father Ted sound like Samuel L Jackson. In fact, I'm going to try to avoid mentioning anything even moderately exciting or groundbreaking, just in case any of you are still awake by the end of the post.

Just don't say you haven't been warned.

#1

Article 1 [of the TEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) the following words shall be inserted at the end of the first paragraph:

"on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common.";

This makes it clear (if it wasn't clear already) that the EU is a group of sovereign member states, and that the only powers it has are those conferred to it by the member states. In other words, the EU doesn't have the power to steal your babies unless the member states specifically give it competence in the field of baby-stealing.

#2

(b) the third paragraph [of Art 1, TEU] shall be replaced by the following:

"The Union shall be founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as "the Treaties"). Those two Treaties shall have the same legal value. The Union shall replace and succeed the European Community.".

This gets rid of the messy technical distinction between the European Union and the European Community (which have already been effectively the same thing for many years now).

#3

Article 3 [of the TEU] shall be repealed, and the following Article 3a shall be inserted:

"ARTICLE 3a

1. In accordance with Article 3b, competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remain with the Member States.

Much like #1, this reaffirms that the EU can only act upon those competences specifically conferred upon it by member states.

#4

The following Article 3b shall be inserted, replacing Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community:
"ARTICLE 3b
1. The limits of Union competences are governed by the principle of conferral. The use of Union competences is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
2. Under the principle of conferral, the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States in the Treaties to attain the objectives set out therein. Competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remain with the Member States.

The following Article 3b shall be inserted [in the TEU], replacing Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community:

"ARTICLE 3b

1. The limits of Union competences are governed by the principle of conferral. The use of Union competences is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

2. Under the principle of conferral, the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States in the Treaties to attain the objectives set out therein. Competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remain with the Member States.

Once again, ensuring that the EU doesn't stretch beyond its mandate. Anyone else noticing a not-really-a-superstate pattern here?

#5

Article 7 [of the TEU] shall be amended as follows:

[...]

(b) at the end of the first sentence of the first subparagraph of paragraph 1, the words "and address appropriate recommendations to that State" shall be deleted; at the end of the last sentence, the words "and, acting in accordance with the same procedure, may call on independent persons to submit within a reasonable time limit a report on the situation in the Member State in question" shall be replaced by "and may address recommendations to it, acting in accordance with the same procedure.";

This slight change of wording makes the procedures for talking to potentially-errant member states that little bit simpler.

#6

The following new Article 7a [of the TEU] shall be inserted:

"ARTICLE 7a

1. The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.

2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation.".

This allows the EU to enter legal agreements with neighbouring countries, rather than letting them have to deal with each member state individually.

#7

Articles 26 and 27 [of the TEU] shall be repealed. The following Articles 25a and 25b shall be inserted, with Article 25b replacing Article 47:

"ARTICLE 25a

In accordance with Article 16 B of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and by way of derogation from paragraph 2 thereof, the Council shall adopt a decision laying down the rules relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Member States when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of this Chapter, and the rules relating to the free movement of such data. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to the control of independent authorities.

This makes sure that any personal data the EU or Member States hold on you as a result of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is dealt with appropriately and is overseen by an independent authority.

#8

Article 28 [of the TEU] shall be amended as follows:

[...]

(d) the following new paragraph 3 shall be added and paragraph 4 deleted:

"3. The Council shall adopt a decision establishing the specific procedures for guaranteeing rapid access to appropriations in the Union budget for urgent financing of initiatives in the framework of the common foreign and security policy, and in particular for preparatory activities for the tasks referred to in Article 28 A(1) and Article 28 B. It shall act after consulting the European Parliament.

Preparatory activities for the tasks referred to in Article 28 A(1) and Article 28 B which are not charged to the Union budget shall be financed by a start-up fund made up of Member States' contributions.

This allows the EU to act more quickly in deploying peace-keeping forces and assistance to disaster-hit regions. All Irish military involvement in these, as before, is dependent on Oireachtas and UN approval.

#9

The following new Article 46 A shall be inserted [in the TEU]:

"ARTICLE 46 A

The Union shall have legal personality.".

This replaces the separate legal personalities currently held by the EU and EC, making involvement in international organisations like the WTO a lot less complicated.

#10

The first paragraph of Article 49 [of the TEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in the first sentence, the words "which respects the principles set out in Article 6(1) may apply" shall be replaced by "which respects the values referred to in Article 1a and is committed to promoting them may apply";

(b) in the second sentence, the words "It shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously" shall be replaced by "The European Parliament and national Parliaments shall be notified of this application. The applicant State shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously"; the word "assent" shall be replaced by "consent" and the words "an absolute majority" shall be replaced by "a majority";

This makes sure that the European Parliament and national Parliaments are kept in the loop with regard to the accession of new countries.

#11

(c) the following sentence shall be added at the end of [the 1st paragraph of Art 49, TEU]: "The conditions of eligibility agreed upon by the European Council shall be taken into account.".

This allows the Council to set up a list of conditions that an accession state would have to meet before becoming a member of the EU.

#12

the following new paragraph 2 shall be added [to Art 53, TEU]:

"2. This Treaty may also be translated into any other languages as determined by Member States among those which, in accordance with their constitutional order, enjoy official status in all or part of their territory. A certified copy of such translations shall be provided by the Member States concerned to be deposited in the archives of the Council.".

This allows member states to translate the EU treaties into languages which aren't official working languages of the EU, rather than the EU having to do all the translating itself.

#13

Paragraph 1 of Article 3 [of the TFEU] shall be repealed. Paragraph 2 shall be left unnumbered, and the words "the activities referred to in this Article," shall be replaced by "its activities, ".

The expands legally guaranteed gender equality to cover all of the EU's activities.

#14

An Article 16 A shall be inserted [in the TFEU], with the wording of Article 255; it shall be amended as follows:

(a) paragraph 1 shall be preceded by the following text, paragraph 1 being renumbered 3 and paragraphs 2 and 3 becoming subparagraphs:

"1. In order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.

2. The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.";

Openness and transparency for all, hurrah!

#15

in paragraph 1 [of Art 16A, TFEU], renumbered 3, which shall become the first subparagraph of paragraph 3, a change shall be made to the French which does not concern the English version. The words "European Parliament, Council and Commission documents" shall be replaced by "documents of the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, whatever their medium" and the words "paragraphs 2 and 3" shall be replaced by the words "this paragraph";

This expands freedom of information to cover all EU bodies and electronic documents as well.

#16

An Article 16 B shall be inserted [in the TFEU], replacing Article 286:

"ARTICLE 16 B

1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning them.

2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall lay down the rules relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, and by the Member States when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Union law, and the rules relating to the free movement of such data. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to the control of independent authorities.

The rules adopted on the basis of this Article shall be without prejudice to the specific rules laid down in Article 25a of the Treaty on European Union.".

This enhances the protection given to EU citizens when their personal data is being dealt with by the EU.

#17

The following new Article 16 C shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 16 C

1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States.

2. The Union equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations.

3. Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.".

As well as recognising religion's status in many EU countries, this also commits the EU to keep up a dialogue with both churches and non-religious philosophical groupings (like atheists and agnostics).

#18

Article 17 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, the word "complement" shall be replaced by "be additional to";

This is a slight change to the way in which EU citizenship is defined, unifying the different translations to a more common wording, and making it a little bit clearer that national citizenship has primacy.

#19

Article 18 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 2, the words "the Council may adopt" shall be replaced by "the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, may adopt" and the last sentence shall be deleted;

This gives the European Parliament co-decision powers alongside the Council for laws governing the freedom of movement of EU citizens.

#20

paragraph 3 [of Art 18, TFEU] shall be replaced by the following:

"3. For the same purposes as those referred to in paragraph 1 and if the Treaties have not provided the necessary powers, the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, may adopt measures concerning social security or social protection. The Council shall act unanimously after consulting the European Parliament.".

This gives the EU power to legislate on social security and social protection as it affects people who move between different member states. Each country would have a veto on any such legislation.

#21

In Article 20, the words "establish the necessary rules among themselves and" shall be replaced by "adopt the necessary provisions and". The following new paragraph shall be added:

"The Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after consulting the European Parliament, may adopt directives establishing the coordination and cooperation measures necessary to facilitate such protection."

When you're outside the EU and there isn't an Irish embassy in the country, you're entitled to drop in to the closest embassy of any other EU member state instead. This amendment gives the Council a role in coordinating these arrangements.

#22

Article 36 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in the first paragraph, the words "the European Parliament and" shall be inserted before "the Council" and the words "and (3)" shall be deleted;

(b) in the second paragraph, the introductory sentence shall be replaced by the following:

"The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may authorise the granting of aid:".

This gives co-decision power between the European Parliament and Council on agricultural affairs, and also involves the Commission in the proposal of changes to the CAP system.

#23

Article 42 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in the first paragraph, the words "migrant workers and their dependants:" shall be replaced by "employed and self-employed migrant workers and their dependants:";

This ensures that self-employed workers are fully taken into account by the EU when acting on matters relating to the free movement of workers.

#24

In Article 44(2) [of the TFEU], the words "The European Parliament," shall be inserted at the beginning of the paragraph.

This involves the European Parliament, along with the Council and Commission, in matters relating to the freedom of individuals or companies of one member state to set up business in another member state.

#25

Article 47 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) the following phrase shall be added at the end of paragraph 1: "and for the coordination of the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the taking-up and pursuit of activities as self-employed persons.";

This allows the European Parliament and Council to better facilitate self-employed workers who move from one EU country to another.

#26

Article 49 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in the first paragraph, the words "State of the Community" shall be replaced by "Member State";

(b) in the second paragraph, the words "The Council may, acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, extend" shall be replaced by "The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, may extend".

This involves the European Parliament in setting up agreements with non-EU countries to provide free trade in services.

#27

In Article 52(1) [of the TFEU], the words "the Council shall, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the European Parliament, issue" shall be replaced by "the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall issue"

Here the directly elected European Parliament is given co-decision power alongside the Council in issuing directives related to the liberalisation of services.

#28

The following new Article 97a shall be inserted as the final article of Title VI [of the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 97a

In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish measures for the creation of European intellectual property rights to provide uniform protection of intellectual property rights throughout the Union and for the setting up of centralised Union-wide authorisation, coordination and supervision arrangements.

The Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall by means of regulations establish language arrangements for the European intellectual property rights. The Council shall act unanimously after consulting the European Parliament.".

Rather self-explanatory, this gives the EU the power to co-ordinate intellectual property rights between the member states (making it potentially much easier to register patents, trademarks, etc.). Any exercise of this power requires unanimity.

#29

In Article 100 [of the TFEU], paragraph 1 shall be replaced by the following:

"1. Without prejudice to any other procedures provided for in the Treaties, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may decide, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, upon the measures appropriate to the economic situation, in particular if severe difficulties arise in the supply of certain products, notably in the area of energy.".

Here the EU is given greater power to take up a joint position on external energy supplies. This is basically code for not letting Russia bully the eastern members states one by one by cutting off gas supplies.

#30

The text of paragraph 6 [of Art. 105, TFEU] shall be replaced by the following:

"6. The Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with a special legislative procedure, may unanimously, and after consulting the European Parliament and the European Central Bank, confer specific tasks upon the European Central Bank concerning policies relating to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and other financial institutions with the exception of insurance undertakings.".

This allows the ECB to be more involved in banking regulation, which I don't see very many people disagreeing with after the events of the past few years.

#31

The following new Article 136a shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 136a

The Union recognises and promotes the role of the social partners at its level, taking into account the diversity of national systems. It shall facilitate dialogue between the social partners, respecting their autonomy.

The Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment shall contribute to social dialogue."

This provides, for the first time, a legal recognition of the role of social partners in the EU.

#32

Article 137 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 2, in the introductory words of the first subparagraph, the words "the Council:" shall be replaced by "the European Parliament and the Council:" and the first sentence of the second subparagraph shall be split into two subparagraphs which shall read as follows:

"The European Parliament and the Council shall act in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

In the fields referred to in paragraph 1(c), (d), (f) and (g), the Council shall act unanimously, in accordance with a special legislative procedure, after consulting the European Parliament and the said Committees.".

The second sentence of the second subparagraph shall become the last subparagraph, and the words "of this Article" shall be deleted;

This gives the European Parliament greater involvement in the improvement of workers' rights.

#33

In Article 140 [of the TFEU], the following words shall be added at the end of the second subparagraph: ", in particular initiatives aiming at the establishment of guidelines and indicators, the organisation of exchange of best practice, and the preparation of the necessary elements for periodic monitoring and evaluation. The European Parliament shall be kept fully informed.".

This enhances to ability of the Commission to do exciting things like develop common monitoring techniques to compare levels of occupational hygiene between different member states.

#34

Article 149 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, the following subparagraph shall be inserted:

"The Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function.";

The EU is given a greater role in promoting sport here.

#35

in paragraph 2 [of Art. 149, TFEU], fifth indent, the words "and encouraging the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe," shall be added at the end;

With youth turnout in elections right across Europe at worrying lows, this allows the EU to have a more active role in promoting youth participation in all aspects of the democratic process.

#36

Article 152 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, second subparagraph, the word "human" shall be replaced by "physical and mental" and, at the end of that subparagraph, the following shall be added: ", and monitoring, early warning of and combating serious cross-border threats to health";

This gives the EU a better ability to coordinate the fight against cross-border pandemics such as swine flu.

#37

In paragraph 2 [of Art. 152, TFEU], the following shall be added at the end of the second subparagraph: ", in particular initiatives aiming at the establishment of guidelines and indicators, the organisation of exchange of best practice, and the preparation of the necessary elements for periodic monitoring and evaluation. The European Parliament shall be kept fully informed.";

Through better monitoring and evaluation, the Commission and Parliament would be able to help member states co-operate to develop best-practice in the field of healthcare.

#38

the following new point (c) shall be inserted [in paragraph 4, Art. 152, TFEU]:

"(c) measures setting high standards of quality and safety for medicinal products and devices for medical use.";

This allows the Council and European Parliament to set quality standards for medical devices that apply throughout the EU.

#39

paragraph 5 [of Art. 152, TFEU], renumbered 7, shall be replaced by the following:

"7. Union action shall respect the responsibilities of the Member States for the definition of their health policy and for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care. The responsibilities of the Member States shall include the management of health services and medical care and the allocation of the resources assigned to them. The measures referred to in paragraph 4(a) shall not affect national provisions on the donation or medical use of organs and blood.".

This guarantees that the EU won't start telling countries how to run their health systems, contrary to claims by a certain Mr Higgins.

#40

The following new Article 172a shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 172a

1. To promote scientific and technical progress, industrial competitiveness and the implementation of its policies, the Union shall draw up a European space policy. To this end, it may promote joint initiatives, support research and technological development and coordinate the efforts needed for the exploration and exploitation of space.

Ok, maybe I lied about not talking about anything exciting. Space is pretty damn exciting whatever way you look at it, and on our own, Ireland wouldn't have a chance of getting a flea in space, let alone setting up moon-bases and invading Mars. In cooperation with the other 26 member states, though, we could be involved at the forefront of space exploration, and this amendment gives us that chance.

#41

Article 174 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, the fourth indent shall be replaced by the following:

"– promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems, and in particular combating climate change.";

Climate change is one of the hot topics (pun most definitely intended) in international politics today, and this gives the EU the power to play a bigger part in negotiations such as the one coming up in Copenhagen in a few months time.

#42

Title XX [of the TFEU] shall be replaced by the following new Title and new Article 176 A:

"TITLE XX

ENERGY

ARTICLE 176 A

1. In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market and with regard for the need to preserve and improve the environment, Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, to:

(a) ensure the functioning of the energy market;

(b) ensure security of energy supply in the Union; and

(c) promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and

(d) promote the interconnection of energy networks.

2. Without prejudice to the application of other provisions of the Treaties, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures necessary to achieve the objectives in paragraph 1. Such measures shall be adopted after consultation of the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Such measures shall not affect a Member State's right to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply, without prejudice to Article 175(2)(c).

3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2, the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall unanimously and after consulting the European Parliament, establish the measures referred to therein when they are primarily of a fiscal nature.".

This gives the EU greater power to coordinate energy policy, which should ensure a much more stable supply of oil and gas throughout the EU, and allow the EU to speak as one voice against Russia when they threaten to selectively cut off gas supplies to individual member states.

#43

The following new Title XXII and new Article 176 C shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"TITLE XXII

CIVIL PROTECTION

ARTICLE 176 C

1. The Union shall encourage cooperation between Member States in order to improve the effectiveness of systems for preventing and protecting against natural or man-made disasters.

Union action shall aim to:

(a) support and complement Member States' action at national, regional and local level in risk prevention, in preparing their civil-protection personnel and in responding to natural or man-made disasters within the Union;

(b) promote swift, effective operational cooperation within the Union between national civil-protection services;

(c) promote consistency in international civil-protection work.

2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures necessary to help achieve the objectives referred to in paragraph 1, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.".

This allows EU member states to better cooperate to protect against forest fires, earthquakes and other disasters.

#44

An Article 188 D shall be inserted [in the TFEU], with the wording of Article 177; it shall be amended as follows:

(a) paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be replaced by the following:

"1. Union policy in the field of development cooperation shall be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action. The Union's development cooperation policy and that of the Member States complement and reinforce each other.

Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries.";

This ensures that all foreign development policy of the EU is directed primarily towards the eradication of poverty. Given that the EU is the world's largest contributor of development aid, it's important that it's spent on and directed at the right things.

#45

The following new Chapter 3 and new Article 188 J shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"CHAPTER 3

HUMANITARIAN AID

ARTICLE 188 J

1. The Union's operations in the field of humanitarian aid shall be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the external action of the Union. Such operations shall be intended to provide ad hoc assistance and relief and protection for people in third countries who are victims of natural or man-made disasters, in order to meet the humanitarian needs resulting from these different situations. The Union's measures and those of the Member States shall complement and reinforce each other.

2. Humanitarian aid operations shall be conducted in compliance with the principles of international law and with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination.

3. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures defining the framework within which the Union's humanitarian aid operations shall be implemented.

4. The Union may conclude with third countries and competent international organisations any agreement helping to achieve the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 and in Article 10 A of the Treaty on European Union.

The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude agreements.

This amendment greatly increases the EU's abilities to coordinate humanitarian responses to natural disasters in other countries.

#46

The following Article 188 L shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 188 L

1. The Union may conclude an agreement with one or more third countries or international organisations where the Treaties so provide or where the conclusion of an agreement is necessary in order to achieve, within the framework of the Union's policies, one of the objectives referred to in the Treaties, or is provided for in a legally binding Union act or is likely to affect common rules or alter their scope.

2. Agreements concluded by the Union are binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States.".

This sets out the circumstances in which the EU can conclude international agreements.

#47

The following Title VI and Articles 188 P and 188 Q shall be inserted [in the TFEU], with Article 188 P replacing Articles 302 to 304:

"TITLE VI

THE UNION'S RELATIONS WITH INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND THIRD COUNTRIES AND UNION DELEGATIONS

ARTICLE 188 P

1. The Union shall establish all appropriate forms of cooperation with the organs of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Union shall also maintain such relations as are appropriate with other international organisations.

2. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commission shall be instructed to implement this Article.

ARTICLE 188 Q

1. Union delegations in third countries and at international organisations shall represent the Union.

2. Union delegations shall be placed under the authority of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. They shall act in close cooperation with Member States' diplomatic and consular missions.".

This gives the EU the ability to be represented in international organisations like the UN and OECD. This representation is in addition to, rather than replacing member states' national representation.

#48

In Article 192 [of the TFEU], the first paragraph shall be deleted; in the second paragraph, the words "of its Members" shall be replaced by "of its component members" and the following sentence shall be added at the end of the paragraph: "If the Commission does not submit a proposal, it shall inform the European Parliament of the reasons.".

The European Parliament has the power to request the Commission put forward a proposal on any EU-related issue the Parliament desires. This amendment means that, if the Commission doesn't put forward a proposal, they have to inform the Parliament why.

#49

Article 215 [of the TFEU] shall be amended as follows:

(a) the second paragraph shall be replaced by the following two paragraphs:

"A vacancy caused by resignation, compulsory retirement or death shall be filled for the remainder of the member's term of office by a new member of the same nationality appointed by the Council, by common accord with the President of the Commission, after consulting the European Parliament and in accordance with the criteria set out in the second subparagraph of Article 9 D(3) of the Treaty on European Union.

The Council may, acting unanimously on a proposal from the President of the Commission, decide that such a vacancy need not be filled, in particular when the remainder of the member's term of office is short.";

This gives the President of the Commission and the European Parliament roles in the replacement of any Commissioners who leave their post for whatever reason.

#50

the last paragraph [of Art. 215, TFEU] shall be replaced by the following:

"In the case of the resignation of all the members of the Commission, they shall remain in office and continue to deal with current business until they have been replaced, for the remainder of their term of office, in accordance with Article 9 D of the Treaty on European Union.".

This provides a contingency for a case where the entire commission resigns at once.

#51

The following new Article 224a shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 224a

A panel shall be set up in order to give an opinion on candidates' suitability to perform the duties of Judge and Advocate-General of the Court of Justice and the General Court before the governments of the Member States make the appointments referred to in Articles 223 and 224.

The panel shall comprise seven persons chosen from among former members of the Court of Justice and the General Court, members of national supreme courts and lawyers of recognised competence, one of whom shall be proposed by the European Parliament. The Council shall adopt a decision establishing the panel's operating rules and a decision appointing its members. It shall act on the initiative of the President of the Court of Justice.".

This provides for a judicial appointments panel to advise on appointments to EU courts.

#52

In Article 234 [of the TFEU], first paragraph, point (b), the words "and of the ECB" shall be deleted and point (c) shall be deleted. The following paragraph shall be added at the end of the Article: "If such a question is raised in a case pending before a court or tribunal of a Member State with regard to a person in custody, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall act with the minimum of delay.".

This ensures that the ECJ resolve a case within the quickest reasonable time if someone is held in custody pending the outcome.

#53

The following two new Articles 240a and 240b shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 240a

The Court of Justice of the European Union shall not have jurisdiction with respect to the provisions relating to the common foreign and security policy nor with respect to acts adopted on the basis of those provisions.

Rather self-explanatory, this says that the ECJ won't have jurisdiction over the CFSP.

#54

An Article 245b shall be inserted [in the TFEU], with the wording of Article 112; it shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, the words "of the Member States whose currency is the euro" shall be inserted at the end after "national central banks";

(b) in paragraph 2 the numbering (a) and (b) shall be deleted, the present point (a) shall become the first subparagraph and the three subparagraphs of the present point (b) shall respectively become the second, third and fourth subparagraphs of the paragraph; in the second subparagraph, the words "from among persons of recognised standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters by common accord of the governments of the Member States at the level of Heads of State or Government," shall be replaced by "by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, from among persons of recognised standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters,".

This moves the process of choosing the Executive Board of the ECB to qualified majority voting.

#55

In Article 248 [of the TFEU], the word "bodies" shall be replaced by "bodies, offices or agencies", singular or plural as the case may be, except in the expression "national audit bodies" and except in the final sentence of the first subparagraph of Article 248(3).

This places all EU offices and agencies under the oversight of the Court of Auditors.

#56

The following new Articles 249 A to 249 D shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 249 A

1. The ordinary legislative procedure shall consist in the joint adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of a regulation, directive or decision on a proposal from the Commission. This procedure is defined in Article 251.

2. In the specific cases provided for by the Treaties, the adoption of a regulation, directive or decision by the European Parliament with the participation of the Council, or by the latter with the participation of the European Parliament, shall constitute a special legislative procedure.

3. Legal acts adopted by legislative procedure shall constitute legislative acts.

4. In the specific cases provided for by the Treaties, legislative acts may be adopted on the initiative of a group of Member States or of the European Parliament, on a recommendation from the European Central Bank or at the request of the Court of Justice or the European Investment Bank.

This provides for certain circumstances where bodies other than the Commission can propose EU legislation.

#57

[To be inserted in the TFEU:]

ARTICLE 249 B

1. A legislative act may delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act.

The objectives, content, scope and duration of the delegation of power shall be explicitly defined in the legislative acts. The essential elements of an area shall be reserved for the legislative act and accordingly shall not be the subject of a delegation of power.

2. Legislative acts shall explicitly lay down the conditions to which the delegation is subject; these conditions may be as follows:

(a) the European Parliament or the Council may decide to revoke the delegation;

(b) the delegated act may enter into force only if no objection has been expressed by the European Parliament or the Council within a period set by the legislative act.

For the purposes of (a) and (b), the European Parliament shall act by a majority of its component members, and the Council by a qualified majority.

3. The adjective "delegated" shall be inserted in the title of delegated acts.

This allows the Council and European Parliament to delegate certain powers to the Commission to amend non-essential parts of an act. This can be used to prevent the business of the Council and Parliament being clogged up by minor technical amendments.

#58

[To be inserted in the TFEU:]

ARTICLE 249 C

1. Member States shall adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement legally binding Union acts.

2. Where uniform conditions for implementing legally binding Union acts are needed, those acts shall confer implementing powers on the Commission, or, in duly justified specific cases and in the cases provided for in Articles 11 and 13 of the Treaty on European Union, on the Council.

3. For the purposes of paragraph 2, the European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall lay down in advance the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers.

4. The word "implementing" shall be inserted in the title of implementing acts.

'Comitology' is the term used for the system by which the European Council delegates authority to the Commission to implement EU acts. This amendment changes that system to one of co-decision where the European Parliament has an equal role.

#59

Article 252 [of the TFEU] shall be repealed. The following new Article 252a shall be inserted:

"ARTICLE 252a

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission shall consult each other and by common agreement make arrangements for their cooperation. To that end, they may, in compliance with the Treaties, conclude interinstitutional agreements which may be of a binding nature.".

This provides a legal basis for interinstitutional agreements between the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

#60

The following new Article 254a shall be inserted [in the TFEU]:

"ARTICLE 254a

1. In carrying out their missions, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the support of an open, efficient and independent European administration.

2. In compliance with the Staff Regulations and the Conditions of Employment adopted on the basis of Article 283, the European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish provisions to that end.".

This allows for the European Parliament and Council, by co-decision, to set regulations governing the administration of the EU.

So there you go, if you didn't already believe that Lisbon is crammed full of boring administrative technicalities, then I'm sure you do now. What's above is just a selection of the ways in which the Lisbon Treaty, bit by bit, improves the EU's functioning and makes decision making simpler and more democratic. While you and I might not care much about any individual one of them, they do add up to an EU that's better able to cope with both its day-to-day running, as well as the big challenges like climate change, banking regulation and energy security that are becoming more and more important as we move into the coming years.

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Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. You are far too modest! That’s not boring at all, and in fact is exactly the kind of serious debate that has been sorely lacking the past few months. Props to you.

    However, one thing that Lisbon cannot improve or tinker with is EU leaders’ political will to act consistantly and fairly. Take one recent campaign website/petition – http://www.right2bet.net – which highlights the unfair hypocrisy of the EU in failing to push for the internal free market to be applied to gambling (resulting in worse odds/services for punters). It is shortcomings like this that risk undermining peoples’ support for the EU. Alas, it is not something that a treaty like Lisbon can do anything about…. is it?

  2. Thanks for that. Unfortunately, it’s too late to be really useful for tomorrow – I’m trying hard to avoid entering new areas of discussion today – but your efforts, which have been truly prodigious, are nevertheless appreciated.

  3. I’ll fully admit it’s a bit late to be getting into that much detail. I had this post as a draft that I’ve been adding to gradually for the last week or so, and I just realised there yesterday that I hadn’t actually posted it up yet, so up it went.

  4. Owen,

    Thanks for that. I’d get a nosebleed trying to assemble that list.

  5. Fair enough about this 60, but there is one that personally worries me and it sits like a big elephant in the room – Defence Agency.

    Article 28

    “Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities. The Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and
    armaments (hereinafter referred to as “the European Defence Agency”) shall identify
    operational requirements, shall promote measures to satisfy those requirements, shall contribute to identifying and, where appropriate, implementing any measure needed to strengthen the industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy, and shall assist the Council in evaluating the improvement of military capabilities.”

    I know it’s a bit too late since the voting is today, but if you have a minute to shoot a PM to me giving me your view on this, it may sway my vote tonight. I’m not against Europe, but in my view the whole idea off making EDA a legal part of EU institutions doesn’t send message that we are really a peaceful crowd.

    I think the problem with the Treaty is that it has too many things in one document and though I like most of what I see there (give or take some minor details), I don’t see EDA as a guarantor of peace and would like do without it. But….

    Thanks a million for your detailed post!

  6. Hi Alex. Sorry I didn’t respond to your post earlier, but I only just noticed it now. On the off-chance that you haven’t cast your vote yet, I’ll give a quick response.

    The European Defence Agency, despite its rather grandiose name, is essentially just a research and development organisation for military equipment. The importance of this could probably be best demonstrated by the recent EU peacekeeping mission in Chad (where EU forces were defending refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan). Despite being under a common command structure, different countries had very different equipment. Italian vehicles, due to the climate and dust, were frequently broken down by the side of the road. French engineers, despite being far more used to the conditions (and having vehicles that were running fine), neither had the training nor the equipment to fix the Italian vehicles, so the Italians had to wait until their own engineers ad equipment could be helicoptered in before they could make it to the refugee camps. Given that military procurement is almost entirely kept within the country involved, and you end up with these sorts of problems, there are clear inefficiencies when EU countries are involved in vital peacekeeping missions like this.

    The EDA is an attempt to rectify these problems by developing common equipment standards and pooling research to prevent duplicated spending. What’s more, each country can opt in and out on a project-by-project basis, so if there’s any research that we don’t want to be involved in, we don’t have to contribute anything to it.

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