Impact Lisbon Treaty on EU Term Paper

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The impact of Lisbon Treaty: Dealing with democratic deficit

The Reform Treaty or the Treaty of Lisbon, 2009, is an amending instrument for existing treaties, Treaty of European Union ("TEU) (also known as the Maastricht Treaty) and Treaty on Functioning of European Union ("TFEU") -- the Treaty of Rome- which form the bedrock of the European Community's administrative and legislative functions. The historical background for the need for this "reform" treaty was the failure of the treaty to establish a European Constitution which had been voted out by referenda in France and Netherlands. Nonetheless it was felt amongst member states that they needed a compact that would perhaps more suitably express their desire to form a closer and more perfect union. In doing so the member states had to strike a balance between national aspirations and the aspirations of European unity. (Bonde, 2009) Added to this triangle was the need to sustain existing devolution. The complexity of the puzzle created by the various stakeholders required a sustained effort and that effort materialized in 2007 with the aforesaid treaty which was put in force in 2009. (Source: Lisbon Treaty; the making of. See references for link)

Dealing with democratic deficit

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Democratic deficit as a concept emerged as one of the main criticisms leveled against the centralization of legislation at a European level which was seen as an abdication of responsibility the elected national parliaments in terms of their democratic mandates. To put it plainly the concept of democratic deficit refers to the creation of a supra legislative council in the age of devolution, which affects an ordinary citizen in two ways:

1. It creates a sense of remoteness for the citizen.

2. It affects his access to his legislator.

Term Paper on Impact Lisbon Treaty on EU Assignment

The creation of the European parliament came about as a result of this criticism. For a period, legislation was limited to a council of European ministers. By creating an elected legislature at a new European center which was elected and therefore responsible, one major prong of the criticism leveled against the European centralization was dealt with.

(a) What is meant by the concepts of conferral, subsidiary and proportionality?

Conferral, proportionality and subsidiary

The principle of conferral deals with residuary powers of the constitutional scheme of the European Union. Any powers or "competences" not specifically conferred upon the European center remain with the independent national states and therefore are the sovereign scope of the national parliaments which form part of the European Union. (Lisbon Treaty; Article 5) Therefore all competences not explicitly and clearly embodied in the nascent and nebulous European constitutional scheme are automatically with the national parliament. (Lisbon Treaty; Article 2) by this scheme an effective devolution of those matters that pertain to a local region are kept within the constitutional framework of the individual state, whereas those matters that require a European level coordination are given to the European Parliament.(TEU; Article 12) a similar principle is in operation in the United States of America, where the residuary powers are vested to the states and that is where key issues of U.S. Constitutional law -- especially the issue of interposition -- find its fullest expression. Thus in Europe's case, we may imagine a three tiered legislative competences i.e. competences in the domain of European Parliament which sits atop the entire scheme, competences in the domain of the national parliaments and finally competences that might fall in with provincial legislatures or constituent units of individual national states or as the case may be with municipal legislatures. (Lords, 2007)

Proportionality has a close nexus to conferral. Simply put it means that no tier of European system of government will exceed its competences and will act proportional to only that which is required under the treaty. The treaty lays down the scope of legislative competence of each layer or tier of the government. (Lisbon Treaty; Article 2) Closely connected to this concept is the subsidiary which is a basic principle of European community legislation where the European Community is to interfere only where laws of the national state are found to be inadequate and otherwise the legislation flows from the lowest tier to the highest. Article 5 embodies this principle of Europe wide consociationalism of sorts. (Commons, 2007)

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