Toemmel, Ingeborg (2009) The Treaty of Lisbon – a step towards enhancing leadership in the EU? In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
The Treaty of Lisbon as well as its predecessor – The Draft Constitutional Treaty – has been widely discussed under the objectives of the Laeken Declaration, aimed at improving the effectiveness, transparency and democratic accountability of the EU. Although these declared objectives play a role in the revision of the Treaties, a hidden agenda also underlies the reform. In light of an enlarged, but deeply divided Union challenged by ever more pressing problems, the lack of institutional provisions for effective leadership seems to be of major concern to the member states. However, enhancing leadership in the EU is not an easy endeavor, as the system is highly fragmented, characterized by manifold contradictions in its institutional structure, and faced with strong vested interests of the member states. This paper highlights the institutional innovations of the Lisbon Treaty aimed at enhancing political leadership in the EU. It shows that leadership is not enhanced across all institutions of the EU alike, but the reform clearly privileges the Councils. There capacity for jointly exercising leadership is enhanced through delegation of powers to third actors and the redefinition of the voting rules. Integration-minded member states choose for this reform in order to overcome problems of collective action and to contain the power of veto-players. Euro-skeptic member states are the potential losers of the envisaged reform.
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