THE BALANCE OF INFLUENCE
4.185. David Heathcoat-Amory's judgement was
that all of the EU institutions "get more powerful";
he compared the Convention to Lewis Carroll's caucus race where
"'[a]ll have won and all must have prizes'" (Q S89).
The Minister, the Coalition for the Reform Treaty and Jo Leinen
MEP all presented the Treaty as a response to the enlargement
of the EU and a consequent need to "make the EU function"
again after enlargement (QQ S295, S329, p S128),
implying that more effectiveness was necessary.
Lord Brittan of Spennithorne said that "if the Treaty as
a whole makes the European Union more efficient, that is to the
benefit of all its institutions including the Commission because
it knows that what it says and does is more likely, if accepted
by the Member States, to be implemented in an effective way"
(Q S350). Whether one thinks that the institutions needed
to become more effective depends on how one views the consequences
of greater effectiveness.
4.186. Lord Brittan of Spennithorne stated: "I
do not regard it as a Treaty that hands power in any significant
way to the European Union institutions beyond what they already
have" (Q S348). In his opinion, "this Treaty does
any significant transfer of sovereignty"
(Q S349). While members of the public disagreed with this
assessment in their submissions to us, and did not think the Treaty
was in the British interest, Elmar Brok MEP told us that "Britain
was a winner in the negotiations
It was a winner as no
other country" (Q S339).
4.187. The Treaty's effects on the balance
of influence between the various EU institutions will only be
observable over time. The European Parliament gains significant
extra influence, which is seen by some as being at the expense
of the Commission and the Council. The addition of a full-time
President of the European Council introduces a rival pole of influence
to the Commission President. The position of High Representative
is significantly enhanced by the Treaty. But a smaller Commission
may be a more effective Commission. The ECJ's jurisdiction is
significantly extended. The opportunities for national parliaments
to exercise their role are enhanced (see Chapter 11).
41 Director of the European Policy Forum; evidence
submitted in a personal capacity. Back
The Government, in its White Paper on its approach to the IGC,
stated: "The Reform Treaty will strengthen the role of the
European Parliament" (Cm 7174 p 13). Back
"First reading deals" are based on private meetings
between relevant players in the Council, the European Parliament
and the Commission, to allow agreement to be reached after a first
consideration by the Parliament. Changes which will be proposed
by the European Parliament at first reading are agreed in advance
with the Council, which allows the measure to be speedily adopted.
They are discussed further in Chapter 11 in the context of the
yellow card, and in Chapter 6 in the context of the enhanced role
of the European Parliament in the Area of Freedom, Security and
The additional seat in the European Parliament created by the
promotion of the President to number 751 was allocated to Italy
by IGC Declaration 4, in derogation from the principle of degressive
proportionality. Andrew Duff MEP called this move paradoxical,
and the European Parliamentary Labour Party found it a matter
of regret. Richard Corbett MEP told us that the European Parliament
thought the move was "pretty outrageous", but recognised
the importance of making the Treaty acceptable to all 27 Member
States (p S136; p S140; Q S334). Back
The bodies and organs of the EU are also added to the list of
bodies for whose acts the Court can provide interpretation (Article
267 TFEU). Back
In written evidence submitted by Vice-President Margot Wallström,
Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy.
First Special Report, Session 2007-08, HC 179, p. 21 Back
However, according to Professor Wallace the processes of the EU
have coped well with enlargement to date (Q S160). Back