Monday, 28 April 2008

Professor: Lisbon Treaty 'not necessary'

A Professor from the European Research Institute at the University of Birmingham has reinforced doubts about the claimed need for the Lisbon Treaty, arguing that under the current treaty the EU continues to pass laws just as quickly as it did before enlargement.

According to Professor Anand Menon, the EU has continued to function as well as it ever did following the 'big bang' enlargement of 2004.

While conceding that he had once argued against the EU's enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe because he thought "it would lead to gridlock," he now admits he was "totally wrong".

"Voting in the Council indicates that the EU has not slowed down at all," he said. "It is producing legislation with the same speed as before. There isn't an institutional crisis to be addressed," Menon insists.

Responding to questions about how enlargement has affected the EU he went on, "In terms of decision-making, there is no evidence that it has slowed down. Interestingly, evidence from systems such as the United States suggests that when a system enlarges, more power tends to migrate to the centre."
"It might also mean that the long-fought battle over the Lisbon Treaty was not as necessary as we thought," he concludes.

His comments reinforce doubts about the government's fundamental claim that the Lisbon Treaty is necessary to make the EU more effective after the EU's increase in membership.

any believe the treaty's only real purpose is to pass decision-making over yet more policy areas to central EU institutions, and reduce still further the ability of elected governments to block EU laws.

More blank cheques

The Professor was commenting in an interviewed published today by EurActiv, in which he also revealed that he "cannot be sure" how the institutional innovations in the EU Constitution / Lisbon Treaty will work in practice.

"There are some important innovations, but we cannot be sure how they'll work. Nobody knows how the permanent Presidency of the European Council will work," he said.

The Professor passes the same verdict on the so-called 'yellow card procedure', whereby national parliaments are consulted on draft Commission proposals (but can be ignored), once again saying "I do not know how the system will work."

Having worked on various aspects of European politics for some 15 years, Professor Anand Menon is very likely better placed than many MPs to understand the workings of the EU.

So his comments once again expose the abject irresponsibility of those MPs who voted to approve the Lisbon Treaty, most if not all of whom cannot possibly know its exact implications for how we are governed.

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