Discuss the impact of the 2004 and 2007 enlargement on the institutions
(Neumann:2007:p1) Fraser Cameron further develops this argument by questioning how a Union with institutions that were originally created for six states will be able to cope with now twenty seven members (Cameron:2004: p9). This impact on the EU institutions is now analysed below. The European Parliament represents the European people. MEP’s are directly elected every five years under proportional representation, next due in 2009. Political parties are sat in ideological lines rather than national lines., with the main parties being the Socialists, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Greens.
The European Parliament has slowly had its powers increased since 1979 and now has the power of co decision in most policy areas. It also has budgetary authority and grants assent to international agreements including enlargement treaties. (Cameron:2004: p9) Enlargement in 2004 took place one month before the Europe Parliament elections With the inclusion of new member states to the European Parliament will undoubtedly have smaller representation for each member state.
The European Parliament had 626 MEP’s yet after enlargement now has 732 MEP’s. Poland, the largest member to join the EU had 54 new MEP’s while Malta the smallest newcomer had only 5 as such the weighting is relatively unfair; making representation of the diverse view uneven. (Nugent:2004:p122) As a result of more MEP’S and more member states fighting for their view points it has posed more difficult to achieve a consensus to pass through legislations with so many nationalities and thus views being represented. (Nugent:2004:p122)
Furthermore, it may be argued that because MEP’S are not sat according to the member states they are from, but according to their ideologies. There with the inclusion of more states is now even more a vague party line and discipline; and thus it may be harder to get acts passed. (Cameron:2004: p9) Commission impact The Commission is the guardian of treaties and is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of Union laws. It has a monopoly on legislative proposals apart from Justice and Home Affairs and Common and Foreign Security Policy.
(Cameron:2004: p9) Up until the Treaty of Nice, each member state had two commissioners representing it. Yet this was changed at Nice with larger member states gaining increased Council votes in return for giving up their second commissioner. It was considered a small Commission with around fifteen members would be more effective. (Cameron:2003) Initially however, the increase to 30 commissioners after the 2004 enlargement was as a result of each member state appointing one of its nationals.
After this, the size fell, in line with the conclusions at Nice, where the five largest states, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK lost their second commissioner, as such there were twenty five commissioners. (Nugent:2004:p120) However, once the EU has reached more than 27 commissioners, then there must be less commissioners than member states provided that the Council can unanimously agree on a system where the rotation of commissioners ” satisfactorily reflects the demographic and geographic range of the member states. ” (European Commission 2003:p19)
Council of Ministers impact The Council Of Ministers is the body that represents the member states of its Ministers. The Council of Ministers meets and covers various issues such as foreign and security policy, general affairs, economic and financial matters and finally justice and home affairs. The Council reacts to proposals from the Commission that have been discussed in the European Parliament. Theses Ministerial meetings are prepared by a body of ambassadors named COREPER (committee of permanent representatives. ) (Cameron:2004: p9)
The quantity of legislation the Council of Ministers has had to deal with has actually decreased since the 2004 enlargement. (Hagemann: 2007:p4) From December 2001 to April 2004 leading up to the 2004 enlargement, the Council of Ministers adopted 474 acts; out of those acts 139 acts were legislative preparation for the new enlarged EU. On the other hand, from May 2004 to October 2006 a total 0f 328 acts were passed seemingly a reduction in the amount of legislative work. Yet although the amount of legislation has declined since enlargement, the work load has increased.
This is due to the Commissions intentions to introduce less legislation with the intention of dedicating more attention in individual proposals. This holds true from the working group level all the way to ministerial negotiations. (Hagemann:2007:p4) Institutional reform will not only be important for the smoother integration of possible new member states, but also for easing the process of decision-making for the current EU structure. The larger drop in adopted legislation in those policy areas where unanimity is needed suggests that the extension of qualified majority voting should be welcomed.
(Hagemann:2007 p4) The number of participants that are represented in the council reached twenty seven, creating an enormous council, with 150 more attending full time Council meetings. However, more so as a result of enlargement because as the number of Council participants include reducing the range of languages to be used in meetings, limiting the time taken up by tours de table and obtaining a consensus and unanimity. (Nugent:2004:p122) Yet Qualified Majority Voting has complex implications. Since the Treaty of Nice, the QMV framework has a threshold of 72.
2%, the member threshold is 50% of members and the population threshold is 62% of the EU population. As a result, the relative voting strengths of the EU15 have naturally fallen. Additionally, the Nice rules redistributed votes in a way that heavily favoured the larger member states. As smaller countries are disadvantages more so because their vote relative to population size decreased. (Nugent:2004:p124) Moreover, Germany’s blocking power allows it with two other member states to prevent a proposal being legislated.
However, Moberg argued that although the changes in weighting affect the bargaining power of each member state, it does not undermine the decision making capacity of the EU. (Moberg: 2002: p259-282) In terms of the rotation of the Presidency of the Council the scheduled rotation that was agreed prior to EU enlargement occurred so as to give new member states time to prepare for their presidency . (Nugent:2004:p122) For the European Council, enlargement affected it in a similar way to the Council of Ministers. Where the Qualified Majority Voting applied, relative voting strengths of the EU15 have naturally fallen.
Additionally, the Nice rules redistributed votes in a way that heavily favoured the larger member states. As smaller countries are disadvantages more so because their vote relative to population size decreased. Also, the European Council limited it duration of the meetings to effectively two days. It also enhanced the role of the General Affairs and External Relations Council to increase preparatory work , whilst limiting the size of each meeting but strengthening the role of the Presidency to ensure its effective functioning in the enlarged EU.
(Nugent:2004:p126) The European Court of Justice has not greatly been affected by enlargement. Based in Luxembourg it is the supreme judicial authority in the EU making judgments on cases relating to EU law. EU law has more supremacy over national laws. The ECJ has one judge from each member state and is assisted by a Court of First Instance that deals with issues of less importance. (Cameron 2004 p10) The European Central Bank has also not greatly been affected by enlargement.
As a relatively new institution and based in Frankfurt it oversees monetary policy for the Euro zone; monthly deciding the interest rates for the Euro zone. One of its main targets is to keep inflation low, which regardless of how many member states were in the EU would not affect the European Central Banks main aims. (Cameron 2004 p10) In conclusion, as a result of enlargement decision making in institutions where unanimity is needed between member states will become increasingly more difficult.
For example Justice and Home Affairs in the Council of Ministers may be more timely and costly as a result of more negotiations. Even prior to enlargement in 2004 and 2007 institutions where unanimity was required major problems occurred; foe example the anticipated completion of the proposals of the European Constitution failed mainly due to Poland and Spain’s resistance to give in to pressure from other member states but predominantly Germany to accept the proposal to abandon the formula negotiated in the Nice Treaty for QMV; a formula that very much favoured Spain and Poland.
(Nugent:2004:p269) Secondly, the shift in policy debates and policy priorities has occurred since the 2004 and 2007 enlargement. Economic and market based policies have continued to be developed accordingly. Yet the underdeveloped economies of Central and Eastern European Countries economies has produced pressure for the more liberalised Western member states market principles to be less stringent on them. Aside from economic policies, more priority has been given to Common and Foreign Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs.
Regarding the CFSP; the divisions over member states over the Iraq war demonstrated how far the European Union is from having a true common foreign policy . With regard to enlargement this is because with more member states in the EU, it increased the potential for the EU to be a major global player. Regarding Justice and Home Affairs, the growing concerns of corruption and organised crime in Central and Eastern Europe, the EU has had to put in place effective measure to combat these problems. (Nugent:2004:p269)
On the other hand, enlargement in the EU has increased cooperation because the higher the number of member states, the more likely there are states to have similar characteristics with each other. It has shown to be beneficial to enhance cooperation with member states as it has attracted non members in because they have seen the benefits of integrating with the EU or because they feel if they remain outside the EU it may be more damaging to them, for example Turkey and its attempts to join the EU. There continues to be plentiful room for enlargement in the EU.
Many national governments hope enlargement will continue and the EU’s number of policies, financial assistance, association and cooperation agreements are available for potential member states. As stated above, Turkey’s application is progressing it seems Turkey will meet the Copenhagen Criteria and if so, accession negotiations will be undertaken. (Nugent:2004:p270) Aside from Turkeys wishes to join the EU, the West Balkan states do so too with Croatia’s formal application in2003 to join the EU. More so there is potential for Western European countries who are not already in the EU to join for example Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
Finally, the former Soviet states for example Moldova have also indicated an interest in their eventual membership in to the EU means the EU need to adjust its composition and structures of its institutions in order to make way for these potential member states if they were to join. If the European Union does not prepare these institutions for further enlargement, undoubtedly, there will be deadlock. (Nugent:2004:p271)
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