Wanna Be Starting Something: The Impact of the Convention on the Future of Europe on Member State Positions and the Outcome of the Constitutional Treaty

Tilburg Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law Working Paper No. 2009/9

28 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2009

Date Written: September 18, 2009

Abstract

The central argument of this paper is that the substantial treaty reforms, as agreed by the 2002/3 Convention on the Future of Europe (and later adopted by the 2004 IGC), were only achieved because the Convention process was much more successful in creating flexibility in member states’ positions than a purely intergovernmental bargaining scenario. The paper thereby contributes to the understanding of governmental behaviour in the context of EU treaty negotiations, providing a powerful argument against the realist assumption that member state governments act in solely based on their national interests. The paper starts with the proposal that during the 2002/3 Convention three specific factors had a significant impact on government positions and reform outcome: socialisation, institutional involvement and the application of the consensus rule. These three ‘Convention factors’ facilitated flexibility in the positions of the member state governments and were thus central in the Convention’s overall achievement of substantial reforms that went far beyond the 2000 Nice Treaty outcome and were subsequently confirmed by the 2003/4 and 2007 intergovernmental conferences.

Keywords: European Union, treaty reform, negotiations, intergovernmental conference, IGC

Suggested Citation

Hoffmann, Lars, Wanna Be Starting Something: The Impact of the Convention on the Future of Europe on Member State Positions and the Outcome of the Constitutional Treaty (September 18, 2009). Tilburg Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law Working Paper No. 2009/9, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1475217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1475217

Lars Hoffmann (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, Limburg 6200MD
Netherlands

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