A Theoretical Understanding of the Treaty of Lisbon - Neo-functionalist and liberal intergovernmentalist approaches
Abstract: The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force December 1 2009, but the road to get there was long and bumpy. For years this Reform Treaty of the EU has been subject of debate and conflict. This paper aims at giving a theoretical understanding of this last amending treaty of the EU, using and comparing two widely recognised approaches in the study of European integration: neo-functionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism. Which of these readings is most accurate to understand the Treaty of Lisbon? The establishments of two new posts with significant, although confusing, competences clearly strengthens the symbols of EU leadership. The new institutional balance with a stronger European Parliament and revised decision-making procedure and a reduction of veto possibilities reduces the power of national governments. The communitarisation of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters also enhances the power of the Union. These features of the Treaty of Lisbon are difficult to explain out of a liberal intergovernmentalist perspective. On the other hand, a liberal intergovernmentalist reading suggests that the upgrading for the European Council to official institution, the confusing and over-lapping competences of the new posts and the intergovernmental features of foreign policies and other high politics areas show that cooperation and transfer of competences only occur where the member states have common interests. Neo-functionalism is a relevant tool to explain the Treaty of Lisbon, which has obvious tendencies of a development towards supranationalism. Although these features to a certain extent in liberal intergovernmentalist arguments can be explained by a common interest of the member states, and hence being a rational choice, some of them rather seem to be a result of a spill-over process, which is hard for national governments to control.
AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)