treatyTen years ago, it was clear the EU’s creaking institutional set-up would struggle to cope with the addition of ten new Member States in 2004. The process of drafting a new treaty was by then underway, led by the Convention on the Future of Europe, a pan-European body made up of politicians from each current (and soon-to-be) Member State and chaired by former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The process, however, was not finished in time for the “big bang” expansion in 2004, and would ultimately drag on for almost nine years. The resulting Lisbon Treaty (downgraded from a “European Constitution” after rejections by French and Dutch voters in seperate referendums) was a compromise that few were entirely happy with.

Today, the eurozone crisis demonstrates (to some, at least) that the EU’s institutions are still not quite up to scratch. There are those in Europe, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who would like the treaties re-opened and modified so that the EU can better cope with the current crisis. Given how bitterly European leaders are currently arguing over the EU’s next seven-year budget, however, it is unlikely to be a smooth process. Do we have time for another (potentially lengthy) treaty change? On the other hand, do we have a choice?

We had a video question sent in not long ago by Francesco, asking whether the EU’s institutional structure was sufficiently able to cope in a crisis:

At last month’s “State of Europe” event organised by Friends of Europe, we interviewed Mari Kiviniemi, a Member of the Finnish Parliament for the liberal Centre Party (and a former Prime Minister of Finland). We asked her to respond to Francesco’s question.

We also spoke to Dominic Hannigan, a Member of the Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish parliament) and Chairman of the Joint Committee on EU Affairs. We also asked him to respond to the same question, and it’s interesting to see the two different answers; one from Finland, which has clung on to its AAA credit rating and supports stricter fiscal austerity, and another from Ireland, a country which recieved an EU-IMF bailout in 2010 and would like to see greater EU solidarity to counterbalance budget cuts in indebted Member States.

What do YOU think? Do we need a new EU treaty? Do we have time to go through the whole process of negotiating a new treaty, with all the opt-outs and horse-trading that would result (and the inevitable referendums that will be required)? Or do we have no choice? Are Europe’s decision-making bodies up to the current challenge? And could a new treaty renegotiation be the opportunity to create a two-speed EU that satisfies (almost) everybody? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

54 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Yes of course that must realise soon. Because the current crisis can ruin EU. The structure of EU is not available for the economy theory and therefore it does not solute the current crisis. The problem is to be part Monetary Policy with Fiscal Policy. Those is a whole.

  2. avatar
    Mark Thompson

    Free movement of unskilled labour from eastern Europe has had terrible consequences for Britain. That is why most people want out.

  3. avatar
    David Fuzzey

    Great idea…get us far away from the european union of socialist soviet serf states and its sad and pathetic supporters

  4. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Of course it is time to do so. How can we reform the EU and Europe if we do not? And it is obvious that Europe needs reforms urgently. The current status quo is not working!!!

  5. avatar
    Michael Tsikalakis

    I think that everybody agrees that Europe should adjust its further actions according to the International demand and that is “CHANGE”. Economic union prior to a Political union is not feasible so the subject of the possible new treaties should be Political Union Agreement rather than anything else.

  6. avatar
    Laszlo Nagy

    In time a new treaty will be necessary anyway, to further lessen the democratic deficits.

  7. avatar
    catherine benning

    You write that Chancellor Merkal is in favour of reopening the treaties to modify the content. But, you do not say how she would like them modified or even what she would like to see covered by them.

    I agree that these treaties certainly need to be addressed, but, not simply to fiddle with the flanks, they need a thorough overhaul on many levels. In fact I would go as far as saying they need an entirely new premise.

    Circumstances in Europe have changed dramatically, however even it matters had been on s solid footing financially, other issues with European policy, written up in the Treaties were showing more and more discontent and a lack of understanding from the outset. This has to change.

    A strong and sincere look at the failure of global capitalism, banking practices, quangoism, international aid, tax evasion, social and cultural meddling leading to a form of tyranny, is not an acceptable way to bring Europe into a modern system of government. And as a result, it is being rejected to the detriment of the union.

    The lack of Direct Democracy on matters affecting all of the people of Europe on social issues, as well as the financial issues in question, and of all States fiscal solvency has to be addressed in the round, as to continue with it in this form is not worthy of those who presently lead us.

    European tax payers cannot be expected to drive themselves into the ground in order to support political policies that are not in their best interests. Europe should return to the earlier, manageable and solvent States who had a firm set of established and well understood budgetary expectations as well as a social culture in which Europe thrived. Only when a firm and honest evaluation of what has gone wrong and why is demanded by all and tackled with intent can we once again find ourselves as leaders of a free, civilised world.

  8. avatar
    eusebio manuwel vestias pecurto

    Sim está na hora da UE reabrir os tratados da UE os agentes económicos europeus em conjunto com as entidades governamentais europeias deveriam consertar posições no sentido da construção europeia uma europa com vocação para responder aos desafios do futuro a económia europeia não pode esperar que os outros governos arrumam a casa

  9. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    I am sorry for you David, you need to study a little bit of economy. Why do you hate so much Europeans? For me, it is a right to all countries to choose their own destiny and so UK can perfectly leave EU and start paying custom duties on their exports to EU, having to ask visa (and pay) every time they want to travel to Europe to spend their week of sun in France, Spain or any other South European country. It is all right for me, you leave and so all investors will reconsider to invest in UK because it will have added costs. Most likely the London Stock Exchange will loose some of its importance but, that’s ok if the People will choose that way. May be Scotland will choose definitely to cut the ties with UK, but that’s ok too, since they have the same right of choosing their own destiny. Who knows about Northern Ireland, since the Catholics have a higher birthday rate, one day they will be the majority and may be they too choose to reunite with Republic of Eire. In the end, may be Uk will be reduced to England and Wales, if these guys do not start thinking about former “compagnons de route”. Meanwhile, as commenters forecast, Canada and Australia will become republics and the actual German dinasty of the Windsor (adopted name after the first WWI) or Saxe-Coburg, may be loose their People’ support and perish.

  10. avatar
    David Fuzzey

    i am utterly indifferent to your felings about me one way or the other..i do not hate Europeans but i do loathe and despise federalists….most of our trade is with the free world not your union….and we sholuld stop free movemant of eussr citizens as soon as possible and stop wasting our money on your union…i look forward to the day we leave.

  11. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Federalism is not worse than any nation states or is not better. ?t is only a device to manage. The problem is how a federalism and anybody should not be pleased from the structure of EU and ECHR. They look like former USSR right now and absoluetly must change the structure of them in serious shape.

  12. avatar

    The compoisition of the EU top hierachy are all ex-communist party members who now call themselves members of The European Peoples Party but leopards do not change their spots. If the EU leadership was more representative of all the people then perhaps we would not get ‘edicts’ but compromises and hopefully, for once the voters will get ‘The Truth’ instead of the double dealing we are expected to accept. When voting goes against the EU, as in the case of Ireland, all the Irish got were threats and told to vote again until they got the result the EU wanted.
    The British are told if they leave the EU, the country will end up in a backwater.. it’s always threats, threats, threats from the EU.
    Frankly, communism and fascism have already been disproven but von Rompuy and his henchmen insist on following the same old ways.
    Until they are replaced by more modertate and financially responsible people, the EU is doomed. So best to get out now before it collapses under the rioting and hunger marches that inevitably will follow the collapse of the Euro.

  13. avatar

    The EU in its current form and circumstances is not going to produce a credible treaty, and honestly lacks a mandate for its authority. I am not talking about the concept of the EU, I am talking about the current political setup/players.

    The EU needs complete restructuring and democratization, or it will ruin itself.

    Tragically the people now running the EU will never accept reality and they will not let go of power.

    It’s not the idea of the EU I reject, it is what the EU has become. It will not reform, it cannot be fixed. They will utterly ruin Greece, spread misery throughout the continent and foster a decade of economic instability.

    Back to the question; treaty change (or replacement) would trigger referenda in several member countries. They would not risk it. They hate democracy.

  14. avatar
    Maro Kouris

    I want 300 Billion Euro’s compensation from both Britain and Turkey for British and Turkish Crimes against the Greek state from 1967 till the present , and for British and Turkish crimes against the Cypriot State from 1974 till the present, amounting to 600 billion Euro’s compensation. All undeniable facts. Greece must take both Britain and Turkey to the European Court of Justice and seek full compensation. All of continental Europe needs to support Greece and Cyprus against these collosal British and Turkish Crimse created through this evil partnership between Britain and Turkey , which is responsible for bringing an economic Tsunami that has destroyed the Greek and Cypriot economies. In 1967 , Britain used its lackeys in the Greek military leadership, to tear down and demolish Greek democracy so that a Greek military Junta could be swiftly installed with the embarrassing approval of the United States which was double-crossing Britain at the time, to pave the way for a Turkish invasion and division of Cyprus, which at the time, was being destabalized by US forces to expel the British from Cyprus , just as the Americans had done to the British in Greece in 1947 with the help of the American Vardarski mercenaries. Due to the impact of the British and Turkish Crimes on Greece and Cyprus since 1967 till the present, there is 30% unemployment, and an increase in suicides from desperate people that are victims of a collapsing economy which has been brought about by the actions of the British and Turkish State on Greece and Cyprus since 1967.

  15. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Ok, I understand now. You rather have the Nigerians, Pakistanis, Indians, Jamaicans, then the so called frogs, dons, boches, and so on. Or are you a member of EDL?

  16. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    No David, your posts shows all: you just hate Europeans, not all the other ones. Your hate is only directed to Europeans. EDL actually do not hate Europeans, on the opposite. They actually are against mainly the Muslims, but I never saw any reference to Muslims in your posts, so I am sure you are not a member of EDL. Rather BNP. You are actually an uneducated ultra- nationalist that thinks all UK problems will disappear as a miracle when UK leaves EU. At least you are learning something with me, mate. I am sure you do not quote anymore Churchil after knowing he was a federalist.

  17. avatar

    David Fuzzey wants Britain to be a wholly independent sovereign nation, and so do I. The latest polls in Britain clearly show that a very substantial majority the people strongly want to leave the EU.

    It is a fundamental matter of national identity and self determination. At no point has a majority of British people EVER expressed ANY desire to join more than a trading bloc. That’s all that was ever democratically agreed by the British people. The electorate will clearly not accept a social, political or economic union with anyone.

    War & post-war experiences made the concept of an EU Federation seem positive in continental Europe, but not in Britain. European federalists think Britain is somehow obliged to want to be a part of the EU Federal Union. They become offended whenever Britain does not show “solidarity” with the EU.

    Please accept that Britain is never going to be a willing part of an EU Federation. The majority of British people will never share the continental sense of solidarity. Britain wants to be a good friend and neighbour, but does not want to get married to Europe.

    The EU and Britain are moving in opposite directions and it can’t be stopped. There is no point hating or demanding anything. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not. We must now either plan an amicable separation or expect a painful (and mutually expensive) breakup.

  18. avatar
    catherine benning


    You are wrong. What the polls show is the ignorance of the British voter which is due mainly to our intense press propaganda and politically controlled media. Every single day at least one newspaper has a Hitler story showing the horror of WW2. as if we didn’t have just as devastating past. Even the BBC had a documentary on Hitler recently and the presentation was akin to a game show format. The objective was to create widespread hostility to Europe as it is by constantly reflecting on the past. And clowns like you fall for it.

    Here is the programme for all to watch and gasp at. The production is so juvenile you could not even refer ot it as dumbed down. It is, frankly, set up as a nonsense in its research and accuracy.and should be ‘banned’ for it’s extemist leaning. LOL.

    • avatar

      No, I am not wrong. The poll I quoted is recent and impartial. Public opinion is clear. The mainstream political parties are all shrinking fast, while UKIP is the fastest growing party in the UK.

      The BBC, which is the most watched/heard media in the UK, has been wildly pro EU. The main parties (inc Tories) have all refused to even discuss an EU exit. The left wing press is gen,erally pro EU. There has been ample opportunity to make the EU case and enthuse Britain. It hasn’t happened. Perhaps because the case is simply too weak, and is unacceptable to the people.

      It cuts both ways. No one is happy with the situation. The tension between federalists and the British is becoming intolerable. Its going to snap. You leave a lot.of links. Here’s one of mine;

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      Your article, rather than explain your side of events in favour of your position, in fact, comes out on my way of thinking.

      Europe has no alternative but to put its survival before the British Conservative governments idea that it will be better off out. It is imperative the Euro stays tight.

      Europe has to stop the shilly shallying and ignore any country looking to disunite its movement and currency to promote its fall.

      In essence, they must look more seriously at how Icelend has managed to avoid failure and used its intelligence to adjust to an answer that eliminates the destruction factor. If it wants to survive in tact that is.

      In essence, what it has to do is take a step back to make ten steps forward.

      You can stay clinging to an impossible and rampant capitalisitic, elite ruling class if you want to. Take a close look at what you are putting your future in with. Take a close and open eyed view of the USA and what their people are suffering, with no hope in sight, and then, if that is what you think is for you, go for it. But make sure you take off the blinkers first.

      The British people have already decided they do not want any political parties on offer. The recent votes in by elections and police commisioners will tell any bright person that. They plan to vote for Independent candidates in the hope they will break the mold. UKIP doesn’t have a chance, except with some decrepit old Tories who are still in the forces glory of the second world war. Spitfire lovers like the idiot Farage. Too many of our people travel and have homes in Europe and know full well what side their bread is buttered. And a great many of these ‘two home people’ are MP’s and Peers in the Lords as well as the general public. Don’t underestimate the natural instinct of self first.

    • avatar

      No doubt you are sincere but you simply ignore the clear evidence that Britain is widely euroskeptic it is a statement of fact, acknowledged by almost everyone.

      I don’t know why you pretend otherwise. Simply denying reality will change nothing.

      There is no point debating if you simply disregard the facts. I will leave it there.

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      This is a message you want to believe. Even when there is no substantial evidence to substantiate what you say. The polls you cling to are a fudge put up by the hard right wing jokers who live deeply in the past.

      Do the British people vote en masse for UKIP? And if they are as the pretence tells you, 56% want out, why don’t that same 56% vote for the rich men, you back, who want out of Europe? Then there would be no need for political discussion or referendum, would there? It would be settled by democracy and the majority vote you claim you have.

      The British people pollster ask are filled with a daily diatribe of how Europe rather than our people in parliament are the cause of their problems. It is a daily unending message our press induge in.

      They are lied to and idiots like you hang on to the coat tails of that humour.

      The world is in a financial mess because of rampant capitalism created by fraud beginning in the USA and spreading throught the world. And the continuation of rampant capitalism will not reduce the situation but exacerbate it.

      Wake up and smell the coffeee. How long do people like you take to see the obvious? It is unbelievable that an intlelligent brain can refuse and deny what is so clearly obvious and in their face.

      What is it you think you are going to gain personally by the UK being out of Europe? Write it down here in a comprehensive manner so that we can follow your line. You simply appear unable to put together that we are a ruined state and a runined state cannot survive on its own. And looking to the ruined state of the US and thinking that by closer unity with them, who created this mewss in the first place, will enable us to lift up and fly right is insane.

  19. avatar
    David Fuzzey

    But only for Contintal Nations…..and another federalist ploy…equate all Europeans with federalists….and your ccusations grow ever more pathetis….i despise the eu and federalists….i really cannot be bothered to hate you…if i did that would mean i considered you worth hating…i do not…..only in your federalist inspired dogma can yousay i hate all Europeans……and as you know nothing about my edulivecation(there is not one book of Ancient literature i have not read..Livy… name 4)…but we Nationalists cannot be as smart as you federalists now can we?….acuually we can and are not causing the riots your unioons usless eurocrats are….and bnp…LOL…..funny how you are as big a plokner as you were on the old debating europe forum…….and learning form you???….you should take up comedy.

  20. avatar
    Davey Brown

    David you can no more reason with a EUrofascist than you can a suicide bomber. Their eyes are fixed firmly in their utopian future where we all live in a federal brotherhood. Just like Yugoslavia lol!

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @David Fuzzy:

      You know you really have to start reading fully what you use as back up for your line of thought and comprehend what it is telling you.

      They want to secede the union because mass immigration has reduced the power of the Republican White man. Not because of union between states, which is ecnomically legitimate and a welath creator, but, becase of the PC brigades policy on ethnic cleansing of the US white population. The ethnic cleansing of the White man is not a European idea. Although, yes, they have adopted it via pressue from the White House. And there lies the answer to your dilemma. It was the the USA that began political correctness and diversity policies as a way forward on quotas for so called minority’s. Which include all manner of people. Not simply Hispanics. This notion did not begin in Europe it was an American import. Begun in the sixites.

      If you read this you may get a little understanding of what has happened in the US and why it has happened.


      It is certainly a situation Europe should be digesting. As it too is facing very similar discourse.

      However your strange belief that somehow UKIP or the right wing Tory party will put this right for you is an enigma. They love the import of underpaid serf labour. It is their mantra. And New Labour is as tied up in it as they are. Cheap labour is the result of mass immigration, which keeps down the wages of the poor the most. And the British political parties thrive on keeping wages at an unliveable level.

      Or, have you missed that entirely?

  21. avatar

    So, David, you have some right.. the eastern europe must go, but ..with all gold mines and with all money hwo comes in eu every year. The great fear of British Empire is here.. do not leave Eurasia
    By the other hand, of course, all nation from colonies, must stay at home, alternative is in some way Suburbia…with lost control as in Paris. think maybe the superpower will pay the price from hundred years of colonialism in the world? You know of course how many years an economical model can support the social model. And witch is the demographic rate in your country and in islamic territories. I think is time to choose carefully, or to learn arabic alphabet (have just less graphic symbols. Sorry for my engl, but I know you get the ideea…

  22. avatar
    Coro Cosimo

    Roma capitale della grande nazione Europa. A centro e a garanzia del sistema economico e energetico mediterraneo, che fece grande l’Impero Romano. La grande ambizione di Carlo Magno

    Rome, the capital of the largest nation in Europe. At the center, and to guarantee the economic and energy Mediterranean, which made great the Roman Empire. The great ambition desire of Charlemagne

  23. avatar
    Dimitrios Karypidis

    Lol, it’s amazing how much hate is pouring out of a bunch of pseudo-anti-federalists who in fact are very much 51st state-citizen wannabees. It’s also amazing how swiftly they change their rhetoric into a poetic cradle of multi-culty virtue, when their transatlantic masters’ voice yanks their chain a bit and orders them to jump accordingly haha…

  24. avatar
    Eirini Konstantinidou

    ? ?????? ?????? ?? ???????? ??? ????????? ??? : ?????? ??? ???? ?? ?????????? ??? ?????? ??? ????. ??? ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ??????? ???? ?? ??????. ??? ???????? ??? ??? ????????. ??? ???? ???? ????????????? ??? ???? ?????????? ?????????? ?????.

  25. avatar
    O Blogue da Gena

    They have to be up-dated to the new concerns. But never, ever, touching the idelas of the former EEC!! Never!

    • avatar

      Europe fell with the empire of Rome . The treaty of Rome is the same treaty written by empire builders . Like those who used slavery of the people to build the Egyptian pyramids . Blood . Graft by the poor . Empires are for elites who believe in god like status .

  26. avatar
    catherine benning

    The very worst news in our papers for the EU this morning, and the attack on it via our British Tory party is, Tony Blair, has decided to use this issue to try to make some kind of come back into UK politics.

    As he is so hated by a large majority of the British people they will see this as more reason not to remain part of the union we have with Europe. He is mistrusted and believed by many to be a traitor to this country and therefore, anything he involves himself with will also be just as mistrusted and despised. Is this why he is really involved in this issue? Does he want to assist the anti European lobby, because, even with his monstrous belief that he is God’s gift to us all, he has to know this move on his part will throw a bad light on Europe.

    What an absolute disaster this man is. He should have been jailed for war crimes, African Church leaders won’t share a platform with him, and yet he is ‘speaking up’ for Europe. His record in government and personal history shows he is truly a Tory, not the socialist he pretends to b at all. He took on the New Labour mantra because he is an opportunist and knew they had no real mover and shaker and it was wide open for this actor and con man to exploit.

    The wise move for the EU top brass would be to disconnect with this guy at once and altogether. He is a jinx on anything he touches. He is what the Chinese would call, bad Feng Shui.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Forgot to add this link to the above post.

      It covers, Tony Blair’s, shady dealings in order to remove the freedom of the press in a deprived country where he was paid a fortune for doing nothing. Because a newspaper there reported the con mans outrageous fees, they closed it down.

      This is the man defending Europe. Does anyone swallow his pretence at sincerity? Not in the UK they don’t.

    • avatar

      Chinese say British strength is not in the EU .Britain , It would lose the respect of the Chinese people.

  27. avatar
    Θοδωρής ζτ

    Stop being narrow-minded! The starting idea for European Union was great! Problems are everywhere! We have to think and make tomorrow-Europe greater and united! The advantages from a union are better for everyone! Think on it and stop blaming EU! We need smart solutions and not divisions!!!

    • avatar

      Before the EU was created , it did not have the rules that are part of it . If you bought your house while under the EU . The state one day says to you !, this is not your house anymore the state own it . Would you care about democracy then .

    • avatar

      The starting point is now changed . And fact is the EU trade is shrinking ever since the 90s

  28. avatar

    10 years ago we ask only 2 country to choose and vote for the treaty. But politician didn’t care and push this treaty without the YES. Europe is not democratic. If you are against, politician will never accept it. So why vote ?

    • avatar

      The French resistance during war never have in did they . They found a way to fight for what they believed in regardless the facts of the time. If they had not done so , would what you know now be happening and would you have enjoyed the best part of your past to date . You fight for others as we will never know them anyway because that time will be when we have gone being to old ?.

    • avatar

      Only people in numbers big enough that politicians have to address the issue. Or sack him completely.

  29. avatar
    Rogério Maciel

    Isso o que essa Corja Mao-Satnica queria …que tudo ficasse na msma com uma mscara nova por fora …aqui , a msma Corja , tambm vem com “propostas” Demaggicas Farolas destas .

  30. avatar

    Most of you people are lost why would we want to stay in the EU so we can be suppressed. Read about treaty’s all treaty’s and the treason being committed. The 1st treaty took britains sovereignty away from us these are illegal treaty’s. treaty 7th is the worst one which will make us live in poverty and in a police state to the next level, which is frightening to think about. Their are 107,000 regulations so if you break any one of them in treaty 7 then your are breaking the eu law an can b prosecuted and extradited to Europe without a solicitor. Even though the law does not exist in uk. How the hell is a normal person meant to know all these regulations: this eu is created to benefit from civilians and control us. Nothing more! Please people read and find out for yourself as I am studying to b a solicitor even though I no wat I am studying is bullshit apart from common law which protects us civilians.
    Ignorance is not an excuse don’t believe wat I say as god has given every1 a brain do your own research.

  31. avatar

    Under rules written in the Magna Carta . It’s constitution clearly states that it is written with exact thoughts of some one trying to remove it . In other words it stipulates the United Kingdom cannot be given away by act of parliament it is an act of treason by anyone in government to give to another (foreign power ) this is treason . So the UK is not a member of the EU . It is written

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