Thursday

27th Jul 2017

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 and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

News in Brief

  1. Werner Hoyer re-appointed as EU investment bank chief
  2. Spanish PM denies knowledge of party corruption
  3. France 'routinely' abuses migrants, says NGO
  4. Swedish government rocked by data scandal
  5. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  6. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  7. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  8. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Latest News

  1. Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland
  2. UK requests EU migration study, 13 months after Brexit vote
  3. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  4. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis
  5. EU-US scrap on Russia sanctions gets worse
  6. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles have one month to start taking migrants
  7. EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7
  8. Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas