Article

The Institutions of the Enlarged EU under the Regime of the Constitutional Treaty

01/2005;

ABSTRACT In this paper, we review the changes the DTC will bring about in the institutional framework of the European Union, focusing mainly, though not exclusively, on the most controversial issues, which were only resolved by the IGC at its final meeting in June 2004. Our aim is to identify and explain those changes, and to evaluate them in the light of the objectives of the Laeken Declaration of December 2001. Under the heading, "More democracy, transparency and efficiency in the European Union", three main questions were put by the authors of the Declaration: how can the legitimacy and transparency of the Union's institutions be enhanced; what should be the role of national parliaments; and how can the efficiency of decision-making, and the workings of the institutions in a Union of some 30 Member States, be improved? We offer a view as to whether the DTC provides satisfactory answers to those questions. Two other special concerns of ours are the accessibility of the text to those citizens of the Union willing to make an effort to understand it, and whether the integrity of the institutional framework has been preserved. We deal successively with changes affecting the European Parliament and national Parliaments, the European Council and its President, the Council of Ministers (as it is now to be called), the new office of Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Commission and the European Court of Justice. In our conclusion, we attempt an overall assessment of the institutional provisions under the new dispensation which the DTC will usher in, assuming (which we expect) that the Treaty is ratified by a sufficient number of Member States to ensure that it comes into force. To us, the provisions paint a mixed picture, with elements that may be seen as good, bad and indifferent, in the light of the criteria identified in our introduction - though with the positive having a very distinct edge over the negative.

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