Sunday, 28 October 2007

Consolidated treaties needed now!

When the voters in France and the Netherlands spoiled the chance for the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe for all of us EU citizens, they paved the way for still more intergovernmentalism and a treaty reform leading to amendments of the present EU and EC treaties.

Even Jens Peter Bonde has said that he would prefer the Constitutional Treaty to the Reform Treaty (Lisbon Treaty) now approved, if he had to choose between them.

Margot Wallström of the Commission – one of those legendary unelected Brussels officials – has done her utmost to engage the citizens of the European Union, but since the governments of the member states are the ones who have taken over the reform process (and, more than ever, the EU), I address my appeal to them: national governments and their creatures, the intergovernmental conference and the Council:

Give us consolidated versions of the new treaties, now!


Naturally, it is a good thing that the treaty amendments have been published on the Council website. But every one who wants to understand the changes has to compare the amending treaties with the basic treaties in force (not to be found in every home). Even with all the texts, comparison line by line is hard work.

This is an unfair burden on active and interested citizens, when the Council has all the facts, the knowledge needed and an obligation to inform the citizens of the Union.

Instant publication of consolidated versions, presenting the entire treaties including the proposed amendments, would ease the task of many engaged citizens, and it might lead to less misconceptions and distortions in the public debate.

Uninformed citizens are easily misinformed citizens.


If the Council does not see the light, the individual governments should act quickly to inform their respective populations.

Has any government announced that it is going to proceed?


If the Council and the governments shirk their responsibilities, we have to appeal to think-tanks and scientific institutes to step in.

The Real Instituto Elcano has done just that, publishing the first complete consolidation I know of, in Spanish:

There we have an example to emulate!

A while ago I mentioned that the Institut d’Études Européennes of the Université Libre de Bruxelles had published a consolidated version of both treaties in French and the EU Treaty in English, in the form presented by the legal experts. See IEE-ULB: => Research => Publications


Costly and time consuming print publications are less important then timely information on the web.

It is no excuse that the consolidated versions are unofficial; so are all consolidations. It is no excuse to wait until the treaties have been ratified; the time for informed, and perhaps less uninformed, debate is now.

No earthly powers are going to be able to make the Lisbon Treaties easy to read or comprehend, but the public should be given every opportunity to know all there is to know.

Ralf Grahn