05/21/2008 05:57:33 PM EST
The European Union Reform Treaty
The Reform Treaty, a treaty designed to reform the European Union following the failed ratification of the proposed European Constitution, is expected to be submitted to ratification procedures in the 27 Member States in 2008. This commentary, written by Pierre Kirch, a partner in Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker (Europe) LLP and an expert in European law, analyzes the draft Reform Treaty and discusses its implications.
Mr. Kirch writes: The Reform Treaty is a European Union treaty designed to reform the European Union following the failed ratification of the proposed European Constitution. The text of the draft Reform Treaty was approved at the informal meeting of the Heads of State and Government in Lisbon on 19 October 2007, in the framework of the Intergovernmental Conference. Upon formal signature of the text, the Reform Treaty will be submitted to ratification procedures in the 27 Member States. It is anticipated that all Member States will complete ratification procedures in 2008 so that entry into force may take place in January 2009. Below is an analysis of the draft Reform Treaty, which in many aspects seem to mirror much of the proposed Constitution rejected in France and the Netherlands. The change in the name, though, may render the project more acceptable from a “political” point of view.
The Reform Treaty modifies somewhat the general architectural framework of the European Union (EU). Many of the changes of the Reform Treaty will be brought into the Treaty of European Union (TEU). The Treaty Establishing the European Community – the original Treaty of Rome dating back to 1957 (TEC) – will change its name to become the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This change is highly symbolic: first, the original European Economic Community evolved into the European Community due to the amendments introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht, and now the European Community evolves into the European Union. The European Union will gain its own legal personality, something that it has lacked until now (the European Community has its legal personality). The Reform Treaty will introduce some conceptual changes into the “pillar structure” of the new Union. For the current “pillar structure” of the EU. According to the current EU treaties, the EU is based on the European Community (First Pillar), a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) where decisions are taken according to the intergovernmental method (Second Pillar) and an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (Third Pillar). The Third Pillar was originally intergovernmental; it had been progressively integrated into the European Community by way of successive changes introduced into the EC Treaty by Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 and recent case law of the European Court of Justice. [citations omitted]