Nice Treaty - the reader friendly edition
By Lisbeth Kirk
Until now it has been impossible to read the Nice Treaty because the Treaty only consists of a lot of detached amendments to the existing treaties. A new book, the first published by the EUobserver.com now makes it possible to read the amendments together with the existing treaties so it is possible to judge the proposed amendments.
The book is available electronically and can be downloaded for private use by clicking the link below. Hardcopies can be bought via the EUbookshop.com and a CD-ROM is also available.
The Nice Treaty history
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The Treaty of Nice was finally adopted on 26 February after five days of negotiation at a summit in Nice in December 2000. It will not enter into force until it has been approved by all 15 EU Member States, the so-called ratification process.
The Treaty of Nice consists of additions and changes to the existing treaties meaning it can only be truly understood when it is compared with existing treaties.
The official consolidated version has not yet been published. Thus, this consolidation is based on the Councils version 2001/C 80/01 of the Treaty of Nice, the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC).
The Treaty is difficult to understand, even for experts.
The following tools make it easier to understand:
- All additions to the existing treaties are written in bold. If the Treaty of Nice is ratified, existing law will be all the articles printed with ordinary letters plus everything written in bold.
- What will no longer be existing law is marked in Italics and strikethrough. Thus existing law is everything written with ordinary letters and what is written in Italics and strikethrough, until the Treaty of Nice enters into force.
- The most important words are underlined in this version (but not in the official Treaty). Underlining makes it easier to go through the articles and find what you are looking for.
- Keywords and explanations have been added as blue text. They too are not part of the official version. However, it makes it easier to read because the reader does not have to look up all the references in order to remember, for example, what has been decided regarding qualified majority in the Treaty.
- Protocols are part of the Treaty and have the same legal status as the articles. Declarations are not part of the Treaty and are thus not legally binding – but they contribute to understanding the treaty.
- Every article has a number (the old number is written in parentheses). With the Treaty of Amsterdam a new system of numbers was introduced – for example "the flexibility clause", former article 235, is now article 308. The most important decision-procedure, the co-decision-procedure, is now to be found in article 251 (former article 189B). After each number TEU or TEC is written, referring to the Treaty on European Union (53 articles) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (314).
- Underlining and text in the margin have only been made from "an easy to read perspective." They have been reviewed by John Fitzmaurice, an advisor in the European Commission.