Treaties: Examined in detail

This ‘post’ links to our set of posts about the Lisbon Treaty (11 posts in total). We draw from the two Treaty documents (comments in red are selected from our posts since 2016). Firstly from TEU and then from TFEU; these two treaties have been consolidated to form the Lisbon Treaty, as it is popularly known. If you’re not sure where to start then we recommend Treaties-0 and Treaties-10 to get a feel for the treaties, and our conclusion.

The introductory post, Treaties-0, has the full list of related posts, but here it is again linked in case you want to go directly to a post from here.

EU Treaties-0: Introduction: The European Union drew up treaties to describe what they wish to do and to establish, in legal terms, how they intend to do it. The ambition is to set up a federal government for as much of Europe as possible.

EU Treaties-1. Background & Membership: Who or what are the persons and institutions of the EU and what authority do they have? (For example: the European Commission, the European Council, the Council, the European Parliament.) How are they chosen? How do they decide things – unanimity or majority? How clearly is all this defined in the Treaties?

EU Treaties-2: Values & Democracy: The EU practices top-down government. They give us big talk on democracy and citizens’ fundamental rights, repeatedly stated but not practised. The goal is convergence – economic, political and regulatory. Mutual assistance between member states has proved hard to achieve.

EU Treaties-3. Uniformity, Promises & Achievements: Ever closer union requires harmonised laws and common law enforcement, among other requirements for uniformity. The language is firm, if not always precise (e.g. “account shall be taken”). Many laws are imposed on Member States while lightly disguised as beneficent recommendations.

EU Treaties-4. Law, Agreements & CJEU: In this post we look at some of the more legalistic treaty articles, including: the role of the CJEU, procedure for revising the Treaties, leaving the Union, Union competences, shared competencies, passing control upwards, the subjugation of the European Parliament.

EU Treaties-5. Foreign Policy & Defence: This post selects from the Treaties and focuses on articles concerning foreign relations and security, proposals for a defence policy. We question the EU’s ability “to promote peace”. Defence is to be integrated into the EU’s foreign and security policy but member states will be obliged to implement it.

EU Treaties-6. Citizens & Subsidiarity: Ever closer union is the goal; the advantage for citizens is the pretext; subsidiarity one of the principles promoted to achieve the advantage. The preamble to the TEU sums up neatly what we are expected to believe. Articles on the principle of subsidiarity are diluted with weasel words, for example, “as closely as possible to the citizens of the Union”.

EU Treaties-7. Economics & EMU: Ever closer union requires economic and monetary union (EMU) which in turn requires the merging of economies. Features of the eurozone include: monetary union, a single market and customs union, common agriculture and fisheries, free movement of capital, fair competition and prudent economic practices in all member economies. A key to achieving all this is a central bank that conditions the decisions of national banks.

EU Treaties-8. Terminology: Some terms used by the EU are unique to them or may be confusing or mysterious for other reasons. Here we offer a few examples, with our explanatory notes: ‘may’ and ‘shall’, ‘taking into account’, ‘legislative procedures’, ‘approximation’ of laws, ‘consensus’.

EU Treaties-9. Miscellaneous: While there is much more that could be said about the remaining Articles, Protocols and Annexes, we pick out just some more general bits; much detail is missed out but nothing that alters what we have written so far—you can always read the original text to bridge the gaps.

EU Treaties-10. Overview & Conclusions: The Treaties establish in legal terms what the EU wishes to achieve. This, briefly, is to set up and run a federal government for Europe, taking control to the centre from the member states of the Union.


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