The new reference to “humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking” (Treaty of Amsterdam, Art.

What may be interesting to examine in more detail is the role of the Council general secretariat, referred to by Beach (2004) as the unseen hand in treaty-reform negotiations.

It provided for the establishment of a new Employment Committee with a primarily advisory role. In a joint article, Moravcsik and Nicolaïdis (1999), examining the treaty through liberal intergovernmentalist lenses, argue that the process and the outcome can best be understood as the result of negotiations among rational state actors whose preferences are a function of issue-specific interdependence. The Treaty of Amsterdam was the result of the 1996–1997 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) among the then 15 EU member states (March 1996–June 1998).

Regarding the objective of bringing the EU closer to its citizens, the member states managed to make progress in important public dossiers such as employment, social policy, asylum and migration, and organized crime.

A general overview is available for all the main proposals submitted during the 1996–1997 IGC. The scope of the codecision procedure introduced in Maastricht and putting the EP on an equal footing with the Council, was greatly extended to many new and old treaty provisions, but decisions on the Common Agricultural Policy, still representing more than half of the EU budget, remained excluded. Signing of the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty 2nd October 1997. The importance of unemployment as an issue facing the EU was recognised in a new Title on Employment added to the EC Treaty (Articles 125-130 EC). Finally, the new treaty firmly enshrined the fundamental rights of the EU citizens into the Treaty (Art. The Treaty was not the critical juncture in European-integration history, which the previous Maastricht Treaty had been. The Treaty of Amsterdam came into effect on 1 May 1999. Britain, traditionally one of the most reluctant partners toward further European integration, saw increased flexibility as a welcome instrument for dealing with diversity. The initial reluctance of the United States to intervene in the Yugoslav crisis and the incapacity of the EU to bring peace in the successor states of the former Yugoslav Republic had given new impetus to the development of a fully fledged European foreign and security policy. The Treaty of Amsterdam added new objectives in Article 2 EU, including the promotion of a high level of employment. N., TEU, 1992). Tell us what you think. The legitimacy debate centered largely on a strengthened role of the EP. The role of the EC was geared toward closely cooperating with the rotating presidency and the Council General Secretariat (Gray, 2002).

In the third pillar (Art.40, Title VI, TEU, 1992), the opinion of the EC is nonbinding. Next to the above-mentioned extensive studies, the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) also gave rise to a range of journal articles dealing with the process and/or the substance of the treaty. The end of the cold war not only had led to the unification of the European continent, but also raised fundamental questions about the future shape of the European security landscape. Important allies of the Swedish delegation were Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, and Finland. The focus in what follows is on those changes concerned with employment and industrial relations. Codecision itself was simplified by abolishing the third reading. The Social Chapter of the EC Treaty was amended to include an express legal basis for legislation on equality between women and men in employment, and new provisions on positive action for women (Article 141 EC). Significant changes to the Community Treaty include the addition of new tasks in Article 2 EC: promotion of equality between women and men is explicitly mentioned as a task. There was now some form of flexibility with the introduction of constructive abstention, and through the creation of the position of an HR, there was potential for more continuity and visibility in European foreign affairs.

The member states also accepted the involvement of the EP representatives beyond the Reflection Group debates, but France and the United Kingdom blocked their presence in critical decision sessions (Moravcsik & Nicolaïdis, 1999). Of the three core objectives of the IGC, the results on the field of institutional reform were undoubtedly the weakest. Denmark, which had recently joined the Schengen area, decided to subscribe to the legislation adopted under the third intergovernmental pillar but received an exemption for the laws adopted under the supranational first pillar. J.7) could also count on the support of the Atlanticist countries, since it was an implicit recognition that “hard security matters” and collective security would remain the responsibility of NATO. An edited volume by Neunreither and Wiener (2000) primarily focuses on institutional reform, questions of democracy and flexibility, and tries to make theoretical sense of the treaty.

Germany, which faces a high number of Central and Eastern European migrants, was eager to come to a European-level approach, while member states as Ireland and the United Kingdom, both outside the Schengen zone, were reluctant to communitarize these policy fields. Flexible integration had already been a topic of discussion since the 1970s (Thym, 2017), but it was in Amsterdam that the member states for the first time tried to elaborate rules about its scope and decision-making rules. It concludes with a theoretical chapter explaining the final outcome of the bargaining process. With the election of Lionel Jospin as French Prime Minister in June 1997, France also became an important voice in the debate, bringing the number of countries in which social-democratic parties were part of government up to 12 (Dehousse, 1999). The subsequent Treaty of Amsterdam amending the EU Treaty, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts was signed in the presence of the President of the European Parliament, José María Gil-Robles. In Amsterdam, this was followed up with a legally binding Protocol, which gave national parliaments a period of minimum six weeks to scrutinize a legislative proposal before it was put on the Council agenda. The fierce public debates around the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty were a brutal wake-up call for many national and European politicians. 6, Title I, TEU, 1992) by explicitly mentioning that “the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.” If a country is in breach of these principles, the European Council can suspend certain rights (including voting rights) of the member state in question. In response to the complaints about the democratic legitimacy of the EU, the IGC further enhanced the powers of the EP. Under pressure from those fearing that it would be used as an instrument of exclusion, however, its scope was defined in such a restrictive way that in practice its application would become impossible. In turn, each of them chaired the meetings at all levels, ranging from the European Council to the meeting of ministers of Foreign Affairs and their Group of Representatives in charge of the preparatory work.2 The country at the helm would manage the agenda and play an important role in forging agreements. The result was that they were unworkable and required a revision under the next IGC leading to the Nice Treaty.

Most authors chose for an in-depth study of one particular dimension of the treaty such as the negotiation process (Devuyst, 1998), the institutional dimension (Dehousse, 1998; Sverdrup, 2002), flexible integration (Edwards & Philippart, 1999), and social policy and employment (Venturini, 1998). In order to allow the EU to be more responsive to these urgent political challenges, all questions related to asylum and migration were removed from the intergovernmental pillar on Justice and Home Affairs to the first community pillar. For neutral Ireland, security was to stay outside the scope of EU competencies (see “The Maastricht Treaty: Creating the European Union”).

The role of the successive presidencies involved in the 1996–1997 IGC was very much influenced by the phase of the negotiations. 23, Title V, TEU, 1992).

This not only meant that there was pressure to come to a deal but also that none of the member states would make major concessions on strategically key issues before the European Council in Amsterdam.

The change in government with the election of a new Labour government under Tony Blair in May 1997—shortly before the conclusion of the IGC—led to a change in position. At the time of Amsterdam, the treaty stipulated that the college of commissioners was composed of at least one national per member state but not more than two of the same country (Art.157, TEC).

As mentioned above (see “Context and Process”), the IGC leading to the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) aspired to make Europe more relevant to its citizens, to improve its functioning in light of the upcoming “big bang” enlargement toward the east, and to give it greater capacity for external action. The IGC negotiations were concluded in Amsterdam in the early hours of June 18.

In the field of foreign policy, the results were meagre. Other countries concerned about the future U.S. commitment to European security supported that position.

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