Calls by several leaders of the EU member states to change the Treaty on the European Union caused a mixed reaction.
Definitely in favor of the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Parliament Roberta Mezola.
“If it is required to take a path that will lead to a revision of the provisions of the Treaty, then this should be taken boldly and confidently.” (Mario Draghi).
According to the supporters of the initiative, the revision of some provisions of the document will make the work of Brussels more transparent. But the main argument is that the proposed changes can make the decision-making process more flexible and efficient. And this is especially important in such crisis situations as, for example, the coronavirus pandemic or the war in Ukraine.
Active discussions are taking place regarding the principle of unanimity in voting in the Council EU. Indeed, now, in order to resolve key issues related to finance, resolving international issues, politics, expanding the bloc, justice and security, the mandatory consent of all 27 EU countries is required. Moreover, each of them has the right of veto.
This, according to critics, slows down the reaction of the community leadership. In 2020, for example, Poland and Hungary threatened to veto a multi-year EU budget proposal. They expressed dissatisfaction with the creation of a pan-European mechanism for monitoring compliance with the rule of law. As a result, the leaders of the countries had to make efforts to smooth out sharp corners and abandon some of the planned items, only after that the budget was approved.
“We have to look for the most direct solutions – either going to the limits and scope of the Treaty, or amending it if necessary.” (Ursula von der Leyen).
Changes to the EU treaties could allow the European Parliament to take the lead on legislation, which is currently the prerogative of the European Commission, explains euronews.
However, at least 13 member countries opposed the revision of the treaty. They said that these measures are “premature”, because of them “political energy will be directed not at all to solving the important tasks” that were outlined at the conference on the future of Europe.
“In the face of what is happening, we will have to carry out reforms. I want to make it clear that one of its points should be the convening of a Commission for the revision of treaties. This is a proposal from the European Parliament, which I approve” (Emmanuel Macron).
It takes years to negotiate and discuss amendments to the treaty – this is a rather laborious process that requires the approval of all countries of the bloc. In some states, the decision of the parliament is sufficient, in others, the electorate decides. For example, the Lisbon Treaty took about 8 years: work on it began in 2001, the final text was approved at the end of 2007, and the innovations came into force two years later.
Reference. The Lisbon Treaty is an international treaty signed at the EU summit on December 13, 2007 in Jeronimos in Lisbon. It is called upon to replace the EU Constitution that has not yet entered into force and to amend the existing agreements on the European Union in order to reform the EU governance system.