Sunday

21st Jan 2018

EU keeps ticking without Lisbon treaty, report says

Europe continues to work without the Lisbon treaty and the demise of the document would not be a catastrophe for the bloc, an influential think tank has said.

In an assessment of Ireland's referendum rejection of the EU treaty published on Thursday (7 August), the London-based Centre for European Reform concludes that "Europe works fairly well in many areas with the current treaties."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Croatia: could future accession provide a solution to the Irish EU treaty question? (Photo: European Commission)

It notes that the 27-nation bloc continues to achieve results and "integrate" using intergovernmental bodies such as the European Defence Agency and through new laws such as those on liberalising the energy market in Europe or the Emissions Trading Scheme.

But the paper suggests that the EU would be "much better off" with the Lisbon Treaty - already ratified by 23 member states - as it would clear up the "dreadful arrangements" for managing EU foreign policy, currently a mishmash of personalities and responsibilities.

It would also allow easier decision-making in the area of justice and home affairs and give more power to national parliaments, writes Charles Grant, the author of the report and director of CER.

His assessment concludes that there are three possible options ahead, with the treaty needing ratification by all member states if it is to go into place.

Under the first scenario, Ireland would hold a second referendum having secured reassurance from its EU partners that certain areas such as tax, neutrality and abortion would not be affected by the treaty. Timing would be important. If Dublin does not hold the referendum before April next year, then the current rules for reducing EU commissioners - and the haggling this entails - will remain in place.

The second scenario envisages Dublin refusing to have a second referendum although this is likely to result in "huge pressure" from the French EU presidency, amongst others. This would likely mean that while the Lisbon treaty as a whole would be ditched, governments would try and salvage parts of it using Croatia's accession treaty.

Croatia is due to join the EU in a few years and parts of the treaty could be tacked onto its accession package, something that has to be ratified by all member states but which is not normally put to referendum.

Under the third "most poisonous" scenario, Ireland would hold a second referendum and vote No, leading to "internal divisions," with countries such as Britain and central European states likely to block any attempt to kick the country out of the EU.

The paper predicts that whatever eventually happens with the Lisbon Treaty, it is likely to be the last attempt by the EU to adopt a "big, comprehensive" treaty. Instead the bloc will probably opt for sectoral treaties in areas such as energy or migration policy in future.

Denmark

While the Irish government contemplates its next move following the 12 June referendum, other countries have already made decisions in light of the rejection.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called off plans to hold a referendum on the country's four opt-outs from the current EU treaties.

"We had originally made reservations for an EU debate in the autumn and perhaps a referendum. Due to the Irish referendum, the situation is now so unclear that the plan is no longer current," he said in an interview with Danish daily Jyllands-Posten on Thursday (7 August).

According to a fresh opinion poll published in business daily Borsen on Friday, a majority of Danes is in favour of scrapping the four opt-outs.

A large majority is ready to join EU defence co-operation while a slim majority is in favour of taking part in the euro, fully joining EU justice and home affairs and accepting EU citizenship.

Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs

The European Commission and the EU's national governments pass each other the buck on who should move first on a heavily-criticised proposal on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.

ECB withheld information on 'flawed' bank supervision

The European Central Bank refused to provide important evidence when the Court of Auditors examined its management of the banking crisis. A court report said the system was substantial but had "flaws".

Fewer MEPs than visitors turn up for Estonian PM

Less than seven percent of MEPs watch Estonian prime minister's speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. More visiting students showed up than MEPs, prompting questions of the value of such sessions.

EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate

The president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, said the bank had high standards - but did not explain why an anti-fraud report on a loan to Volkswagen was being kept secret.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap