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Crossing the Bridge of Size: Reaching a Deal at Nice

Best, Edward (2000) Crossing the Bridge of Size: Reaching a Deal at Nice. EIPASCOPE, 2000 (3). pp. 1-8.

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    Abstract

    The Intergovernmental Conference which should conclude at Nice in December 2000 deals with issues of institutional reform which must be resolved before proceeding with enlargement. There are four main questions. Should all countries be able to name a Member of the European Commission, or should the number of Commissioners be ‘capped’ at a number lower than the number of Member States? How should the weighting of Member States’ votes in the Council be adjusted to ensure that winning coalitions under qualified-majority voting represent an adequate proportion of the total EU population – as well as to ‘compensate’ those five Member States which lose their second Commissioner? How far should qualified-majority voting be extended? Should the conditions for ‘closer cooperation’ be relaxed to make it easier to press ahead with integration in particular areas without the participation of all Member States? A deal must be reached at Nice, but the IGC has revealed serious differences between the Member States. There is likely to be an agreement: for one Commissioner per Member State, probably with an internal hierarchy; a significant reweighting of votes in favour of the big Member States; a moderate extension of qualified-majority voting; and at least the removal of the veto regarding closer cooperation. Yet relative size has emerged as a source of frictions and concerns about long-term solidarity. The big countries fear being tied down. The smaller ones have long-term concerns about being dominated or absorbed, as well as presentational problems. If all the results of the IGC are seen as concessions to the large countries, it will be hard to sell the Nice Treaty at home – and Denmark has again shown that people can say No. Too much intergovernmentalism is not the answer. The Community institutions cannot do everything, but they have played an essential role in overcoming fears about relative power. They need to be renewed, not replaced.

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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
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: 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
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/821

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