Monday, July 23, 2007

The new treaty: a whopping 277 pages

Rough translations here, here and here (Word format).

The new "reform" treaty is now up on the Council site. Including the main text (145 pages), the protocols (69 pages) – which are legally binding – and the declarations (63 pages), the whole production comes to a whopping 277 pages, with 296 amendments to the existing treaties.

And now for the downside: it is available only in French, not that this makes much difference. It would be unreadable in any language which, of course, is the intention.

Accompanying the treaty draft are the presidency speaking notes, to be delivered to the conference by the Portuguese foreign minister Luis Amado.

In an attempt to hold the line, Amado is reminding the delegates that the IGC must conclude its work as quickly as possible, on the basis of a draft Treaty. Furthermore, he says, the Presidency will guide the IGC in strict compliance with the mandate we received. This mandate, he declares:

… is the unique basis and exclusive framework for the work of the IGC. We shall not deviate one millimetre from that mandate. The mandate set out the explicit will of all the Heads of State and Government which approved it. The general responsibility for the conduct of this IGC falls on them.

It is also vital that we remain fully alert to the aim of this exercise: to amend the Treaties currently in force with a view to strengthening the efficiency and the democratic legitimacy of the enlarged Union, and the coherence of its external action. The mandate we hold is the sole instrument which will allow us to pursue those aims.
He adds:

… it is vital that the Union should not allow itself to be paralysed once again on account of internal, institutional problems, so that is may respond to the real challenges that it must face. Thus, we must conclude this debate on the Treaties, which has already gone on long enough.
He then declares:

At political level, there is a consensual wish that we organise our work in such a way that we can conclude it as swiftly as possible. It is essential to respect the undertakings we have all given. Good faith and the principle of honest cooperation must constantly guide the action of every participant in this Conference.
Amado tells us he has organised the working of this IGC with the aim of concluding negotiations on 18 and 19 October, in Lisbon. That is the target, and the "colleagues" do not intend to let anything get in their way.


Barroso, in a parallel move from Brussels, is also talking up the prospects of "success", saying he is "confident" that political agreement will be reached by October. "We now have the draft treaty text," he says. The political consensus that was reached at the last European council is now translated into legal language.'

To him, the IGC is merely a forum for "some details to be addressed 'technically'", adding that there is a 'clear' political consensus to fully respect the mandate that was reached.


MEPs, we are told, will resist any attempt to water down the "reform" treaty. Elmar Brok, speaking at a press conference, said, "The IGC should not attempt to unpick or renegotiate the treaty. This is not possible... Parliament will be watchful that the treaty mandate received from the European Council will not be watered down and will remain in place."

He adds: "It is important that the rights guaranteed in the mandate are preserved. This is our challenge for the next few months. Parliament will then scrutinise the text which is finally agreed."


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