The Conference on the Future of Europe - A New Model to Reform the EU?
Federico Fabbrini is Full Professor of Law at the Dublin City University, director of the DCU Brexit Institute and Charlemagne Prize Fellow 2019/2020. His first working paper - an analysis on the plan to innovate the European Union - is published within the current debates on the implementation of the conference idea and provides recommendations and an outlook on possible results.
This research is supported by funds from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The paper offers a first analysis of the recent plan to establish a Conference on the Future of Europe to reform the European Union (EU), comparing this initiative with two historical precedents to relaunch the EU – namely the Conference of Messina and the Convention on the Future of Europe – and considering the legal rules and political options for treaty reform in the contemporary EU. To this end, the paper overviews prior efforts to reform the EU, and points out the conditions that led to the success or failures of these initiatives. Subsequently it examines the technicalities of the EU treaty amendment rules and emphasizes the challenge towards treaty reform resulting from the need to obtain unanimous approval by all member states. The paper then assesses the increasing tendency by member states to use inter-se international treaties – particularly in response to the euro-crisis – and underlines how these have introduce new ratification rules, overcoming unanimity. Drawing lessons from these precedents, finally, the paper suggests what will be a condition for the success of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and argues that this should resolve to draft a new treaty – a Political Compact – designed to push forward integration among those member states that so wish.
Date Written: January 7, 2020