Pathways to EU Reform

The concept of ‘EU reform’ is a difficult object of academic study, because all political stakeholders appear to agree that it is needed, but few have spelled out what exactly it is about the EU that requires reform.

The first point to note is that the EU is no stranger to “reform”. The EU’s founding treaties are regularly updated, which is never a straightforward process and on occasion leads to serious crises. In fact the current version of those treaties has been in force for little more than 5 years, and though now generally called the Lisbon Treaty, it was originally branded as the “Reform Treaty”.

The second point is that EU reform often takes time. Important reforms require the unanimous approval of all member states, or at least some level of consensus – a principle on which successive UK governments have been most insistent. It takes time and effort to build such a consensus among the EU member states and the EU institutions.

To find out more, explore the resources below.

Key Speeches
Relevant Treaty Articles and Protocols
Opt-outs and Protocols
European Union – Documents on Reform
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
EU Policy Making
Policy Papers and Briefings
Monographs and Edited Volumes

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