Saturday, 8 December 2007

Two Treaties but one European Union

My aim is to walk through the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), step by step, as if the Reform Treaty to be known as the Treaty of Lisbon was in force. I am going to present a consolidated version of the Treaties, Article by Article. I imagine that my rudimentary comments might be helpful to students and citizens who want basic information.


The Treaty of Lisbon is just what it says, an international treaty between states, not a Constitution based on the people.

The Member States have chosen to underline this fact by adding the words “on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common” to the first paragraph.

On the other hand, these “competences” (powers) make the European Union unique (sui generis) among international organisations, since the Member States have created supranational institutions with legislative, executive and judiciary powers.

If the first phase, European integration was dominated by the aim to ensure peace between the Member States and to enhance living standards by creating a common market. The present main challenges of the European Union are global and transnational security and economic concerns, which the individual Member States are progressively less capable of handling on their own.

The second paragraph on “an ever closer union” is unchanged. From a citizen’s perspective it is an important principle that decisions are to be taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen, although at this stage it reflects government “for the people” rather than “of the people” or “by the people”.

The third paragraph merges the present European Union and the European Community (EC; former EEC) into one European Union (EU). The EC is replaced by the EU and thus becomes history. At the same time Community legislation and activities continue within the EU.

If the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force, we are going to have one Union, but two Treaties. The first one, with amendments, is called the Treaty on European Union, as today. The second one is going to have a new name: the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Together they are “the Treaties”.


The consolidated Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon (CIG 14/07), Title I, General Provisions (formerly Common Provisions):

Article 1

By this Treaty, the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION, hereinafter called ‘the Union’, on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common.

This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen.

The Union shall be founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as “the Treaties”). Those two Treaties shall have the same legal value. The Union shall replace and succeed the European Community.


Our next look is going to be at the founding values of the European Union.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Readable consolidations of the new Treaties in all of the official languages are a basic necessity if the EU aims to act openly, close to the citizen and to treat all citizens equally.

There are consolidated versions of the Treaty of Lisbon, in English by the Institute of European Affairs (IIEA), in Ireland, and by professor Steve Peers (Statewatch Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty), as well as in French (Assemblée nationale) and in Spanish (Real Instituto Elcano).

I am grateful for information on existing or forthcoming consolidations in different languages.