60 Ideas for Europe

The EMI must consider the Lisbon Treaty equivalent to a Constitution, although there are states who are reluctant to contemplate such a comparison. Any modification of the Treaty/”Constitution” must be subject to demanding conditions. However, its modification should not be, for all practical purposes, impossible. For this reason, the EMI must propose that the Treaty can be modified with the approval of 4/5 of the states, which is indeed a demanding condition. Those states not in agreement with the 4/5 will always have the option of opting in, a system which has proved very effective in the past.
The problem is art. 48 TUE (Lisbon). This article is the successor of the corresponding article in the Draft Treaty. This means that in practice, it maintains the principle of unanimous decision for any modification in the Treaty, although it does not state this explicitly. Admittedly, the article rhetorically speaks about needing 4/5 of states in favour of “examining the question”, and it also talks about a 2-year delay before implementing any decision. However, this should be taken with a pinch of salt.

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  1. Whether the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution or not resembles to the European medieval nomialism-universalims debate. I think it functions in almost all ways as a constitution for a real polity, the European Union.

    I do not think that the 4/5 rule would not serve its aims. (Changing most constitutions do not require such a majority). A very useful tool to assess the long-standing popular support behind an initiative is that the change must have a qualified majority and also it has to be approved by a different panel (the successive political body after an election, a referendum, etc). The 2-year delay would be a useful tool as elections cycles differ in Europe if the decision taken by the European Council were to be re-examined after 2 years with clear consequences. Within two years there is always a lot of change in the European Council and those who support a bad change have a good chance to loose their seats in that period back home.

    I am also not sure if the opt-ins (our opt-outs from the other point of view) were always a good policy in the past. I believe that there is no such constitution in the world that leaves room for a serious opt out. Such provisions should be left out from the constitutional law, or the parties who cannot accept it should leave a federation.

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