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January 31, 2009
EU Enlargement and the National Right to Veto EU Membership Bid
As is well known, the Treaties of Rome (1957) were originally signed by six
What is less well known is that once “in” each EU Member State is entitled
to “veto” any candidate country. Indeed, according to Article 49(2) of the EU
Treaty, “The conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on
which the Union is founded, which such admission entails, shall be the subject
of an agreement between the Member States
This means that it is up to each EU Member State to decide on how to ratify the “accession treaty”. Most Member States do so by means of parliamentary ratification but in some Member States, a referendum may also be used.
A recent episode brought this issue back to the fore. Slovenia, being an EU member since 2004, is
trying to force Croatia
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a current EU Member State is
acting as a negative and obstructionist force. On the irrational – some may say
laughable – ground that the name “Macedonia” could lead the country bearing
this name (population: 2 million) to make territorial claims over Greece’s northern
province of the same name, Greece has demanded and – sadly – obtained from its
EU partners that Macedonia be referred to as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Adding insult to injury,
the resolution of the name dispute with Greece has become a precondition for further progress on Macedonia
These sad examples offer additional evidence that the EU should move away from the unanimity requirement when it comes to ratifying amending and accession treaties.
January 31, 2009 | Permalink
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De Gaulle showed how simple it is to cause paralysis of an organisation with six members.
With 27 or more member states the unanimity rule does for the European Union what the 'liberum veto' did for Poland.
Posted by: Ralf Grahn | Jan 31, 2009 2:32:17 PM