Monday 16 March 2009

The elites who wrote the Lisbon Treaty

The launch of Libertas has led to increased volumes of distortion about the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon.

How unelected were the elites who wrote the Lisbon Treaty?

The draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was written by the European Convention. In addition to the Chairman and two Vice-Chairmen appointed by the European Council (national leaders) there were:

• 15 representatives of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States (one from each Member State),
• 13 representatives of the Heads of State or Government of the candidate States (1 per candidate State),
• 30 representatives of the national parliaments of the Member States (two from each Member State),
• 26 representatives of the national parliaments of the candidate States (two from each candidate State),
• 16 members of the European Parliament,
• 2 representatives of the European Commission.

Out of 105 delegates, 38 represented the national governments, 56 the national parliaments and 16 the directly elected European Parliament.

The only ones who remotely resembled unelected Brussels bureaucrats were two who represented the European Commission, which is nominated by the heads of state or government and approved by the European Parliament.


During the intergovernmental conference 2003─2004 the national governments of the EU member states watered down the Convention’s proposal to reach agreement on the Constitutional Treaty.

Where were the supranational bureaucrats?


The bleaker Treaty of Lisbon resulted from a new round of negotiations between the governments of the member states.

Where were the “unaccountable” Brussels bureaucrats, who by the way are held to account by the member states’ governments in the Council and by the European Parliament?


How truthful and accountable is Libertas?

Ralf Grahn


  1. While I understand your point, I still feel that the main concern is that of direct citizen involvement. The reality may be far from the elite conspiracy theory that many eurosceptics paint, but there is a lamentable degree of distance from the voters. Which is why I'd be strongly in favour of an elected (or at least partly elected) conventions to debate and decide on Treaty amendments.

    Now I know that we have to live with the system we've got, even under the Lisbon Treaty, and that the gains under Lisbon need to be fought for, but I am deeply disappointed with the lack of movement on the democratizing front and the dithering on proper institutional reform. After all, we've had 5 treaties in 20 years!

    As for Libertas, well, you know my feelings on them. Given my frustration expressed above, I should really be a prime example of a Libertas voter, but Libertas is a party with no policies, no clear direction and no political sense. And that's all without the far-right madness which is enough by itself to drive me away.

    And more negotiations? Now? When we have an economic crisis? And for unclear aims and rejection based on demonstratable lies? Politically irresponsible, to say the least.

  2. Eurocentric,

    In this blog post I wanted to make a limited point about the so called unelected or unaccountable Brussels elites with regard to the Lisbon Treaty.

    I had just seen one too many of these claims.

    The main themes of this blog are legal education (for citizens) and a democratic European Union, so most of the time I write about how the EU works and partly malfunctions.

    The EU has increasingly become a project of, by and for the heads of state or government (European Council), instead of evolving towards a union of EU citizens.

    An elected convention could be needed to bridge the gap between a union of states (primarily, "double legitimacy") and a union of people.

    Once there, changing the basic law or constitution of the federation would be part of the powers of parliament.

  3. A "union of people" will not be brought about by law-making. It takes action 'on-the-ground' by strong-minded individuals. Despite my feelings towards Libertas, I feel they have done more than any other organisation to create this 'on-the-ground' action.

    However, Libertas have made a wrong move in proposing to become a political party. There really is no EU demos; and I doubt there ever will be.

  4. Anonymous,

    Citizenship with full political rights is lawmaking, and much more exact than nebulous demos.

    As far as I understand, Libertas has been busy mobilisng anti-feeling in Ireland and elsewhere without much of a constructive programme to show.

    In addition, their arguments then and later have been distortive.


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