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The Treaty of Nice: Not Beautiful but It’ll Do

Best, Edward (2001) The Treaty of Nice: Not Beautiful but It’ll Do. EIPASCOPE, 2001 (1). pp. 1-8.

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    [Summary]. After long and difficult negotiation, a Treaty was agreed at Nice in December 2000, concluding the Intergovernmental Conference convened to deal with the ‘left-overs’ from Amsterdam. There were criticisms of the conduct and tone of the discussions. Yet the basic goal was achieved: the possible institutional obstacles to enlargement were removed. There was an agreement to have one Commissioner per Member State as of 2005 and a reduction to an unspecified number less than that of the Member States once there are 27 countries in the EU; a complex system of reweighting of votes with a triple threshold for qualified majority; a limited extension of qualified-majority voting; and some relaxation of the conditions for 'enhanced cooperation'. It is not possible to foresee exactly how the new arrangements may work, and they may be modified before they come into force. Nonetheless, there are concerns that decision-making will not be easier while transparency may suffer; that attention has been distracted from non-treaty reforms and other issues of policy management; and that solidarity may have been weakened. The limited scope and particular nature of this agenda made it inevitable that bargaining should often seem zero-sum, while national positions proved unusually difficult to change. Any EU Presidency would have had great difficulty in managing these questions. For the future, improvements to the way in which Intergovernmental Conferences are structured and managed can be envisaged. Equally important will be how effectively diplomacy can be prepared and accompanied by other forms of European public deliberation.

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    Item Type: Article
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > Nice Treaty
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > general
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > enlargement
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > decision making/policy-making
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Journals > European Institute of Public Administration (Maastricht) > EIPASCOPE
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2003
    Page Range: pp. 1-8
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:16

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