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Reform Treaty: a little more honesty and less smoke and mirrors please

TreatySo the Reform Treaty (we’re supposed to call in the Lisbon Treaty now, just so citizens can confuse it with the Lisbon Strategy) has been agreed. But what have the Heads of State and Government actually signed? All of the amendments are listed here on the Council website. Yet no consolidated version of the text has yet been released – that’s essentially a full text of the Treaties incorporating all of the changes. Nanne, Jan Seifert and Ralf Grahn have more on the story, and a diligent German academic – M Walter – has produced his own version in German.

But what is going on here? Nanne speculates that the British and Dutch governments are not keen for a consolidated version to be produced as it will give credence to eurosceptic claims that the Reform Treaty is the same as the defunct Constitution. To be quite frank I don’t understand this… Eurosceptics will make that claim about the Reform Treaty anyway (and broadly speaking they are right) and I cannot imagine whether having 200 pages of consolidated text (rather than amendments) is going to mean such arguments are any harder or easier to make.

On the contrary the very fact that no consolidated text has appeared makes is look – yet again – like there’s some sort of conspiracy going on, preventing the facts emerging. Plus those of us that are going to have to work with this damned Treaty are waiting for a document that – in practical terms – is going to make our work easier.

Overall we need some more honesty in all of this business. The Constitution was the most honest text: it said EU law was supreme over national law, it said that the EU has a flag and an anthem. All of these things are still the case, despite no references to them in the text of the Reform Treaty. Now we’re making some strange dance about the publishing of a text. Please let’s have a bit less smoke and mirrors, and a bit more honesty.


10 Comments

  • Ralf Grahn |

    Jon, if by an official version you mean that the Council (responsible for the IGC 2007) or some other EU institution would have published consolidations of the Treaty of Lisbon, the answer is no.

    Only when the Reform Treaty has been ratified and entered into force are they going to publish consolidated versions.

    I have looked for consolidated versions and found them in the following languages: Danish, English (two), French, German (final version), Spanish (final version) and Swedish.

    For those interested, there are postings on the matter on my blogs since mid October.

    I am grateful for additional information.

    Six out of 23 official languages of the European Union.

  • Robert |

    Ralf: do you mean to tell me the Irish will have to fight their way through the amending treaty and protocols before voting in their referendum – or am I just being naive, given then practically no Irish citizen will actually read it?

  • giacomo |

    I produced indipendently this comparative version of the draft Reform Treaty some months ago,
    http://archives.rationalpatterns.net/docs/EU/comparing-treaties.htm

    here you can also download it in a odf format:
    http://archives.rationalpatterns.net/docs/EU/Comparing_Treaties_Informal_Edition_by_Dorigo_Giacomo.ods

    this comparative version needs to be upgraded, but I still haven’t enough free time to do that.

    Anyway I agree that it is quite ridiculous that this kind of material has to be produced independently by citizens or institutes, and I see no reasonable reason for waiting the ratification to be complete in order to produce the official consolidated version, given the fact that all consolidated versions always had just a communicational aim and no legal value.

  • Ralf Grahn |

    Robert, what was the aim of your question?

    You pointed yourself to the consolidated (October) version of the Intstute of International and European Affairs (www.iiea.com).

    I don’t believe that all the citizens of a country read the Treaties, or understand them, before polling day.

    The French referendum debate in 2005 did very little to impress me that referenda would be conducive to good decisions in a democracy.

    But there are a lot of people who need the most fundamental documents of the European Union as tools, e.g. students, teachers, journalists, NGOs, officials, politicians and interested citizens.

    And, according to the principles trumpeted by EU leaders and institutions, reader-friendly information should be self-evident, in every official language of the Union.

  • Jon |

    Ah, no, sadly not… Although I do have a lot of respect for the Brussels team of The Economist.

  • David |

    The signs are that the Irish are going to reject this.

    The thought being why would you vote yes to something you don’t understand. Send it back.

So, what do you think ?