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Chapter 30 - Institutions
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   December 2004

Background

One of the keys to successful enlargement will be the effective and well-balanced representation and integration of the new Member States in the institutional architecture of the Union. This is the purpose of chapter 30 on institutions, which mainly covers the composition and functioning of institutions and bodies established under the Treaties or secondary legislation.

The fundamental question of how to prepare the institutions for enlargement so that the Union can operate effectively with up to 27 Member States and maintain its decision-making capacity was addressed by the Nice Intergovernmental Conference in December 2000 and is dealt with in the Treaty of Nice as well as in the protocols and declarations attached thereto. Following the successful second Irish referendum on 19 October 2002 and the completion of the ratification process by the end of this year, the Treaty of Nice is likely to enter into force by February 2003.

The EU's negotiating position is based on the following:

  • the provisions set out in the Treaty of Nice and the annexed Protocol on the enlargement of the European Union, including particularly the provisions for adjustment of the institutions with the prospect of enlargement,
  • the agreements set out in the Nice Declarations N20 on enlargement and N21 on the qualified majority threshold in the Council, which provide key elements for the common positions to be adopted by Member States,
  • the relevant provisions of the present Treaties and the corresponding secondary law (including on inter-institutional relations, transparency, languages, the Staff Regulations and other administrative provisions concerning the European Civil Service).

As regards the number of seats in the Parliament and the voting system in the Council, transitional arrangements are needed and have been agreed to cover the period between the date of accession and the later entry into force of the new provisions for Parliament after the June 2004 elections and for the Council. The changes are the following:

  • the new Member States will be represented during the first weeks after accession and still in the current Parliament with as many nominated deputies as there will be elected deputies for the following 2004-2009 term;
  • for a transitional period until the end of October 2004, the 25 Member States will have 124 votes in total in the Council and the qualified majority will be reached with 88 votes.

For the envisaged accession of 10 new Member States on 1 May 2004, the relevant provisions under the Nice Treaty referring to a Union of 27 had to be adapted to a Union of 25, whilst maintaining the principles established in the Nice Treaty. The new provisions enter into force only after a transition phase of some months. The changes to Parliament, Council and Commission after the next enlargement can be summarised as follows:

  • as from the 2004-2009 election term, the number of seats in the Parliament will be increased to 732 (compared to the previous 626 seats). The Czech Republic and Hungary will receive the same number of seats as those Member States of a similar size in terms of population;
  • with effect from 1 November 2004, Member States will have in total 321 votes in the Council and the qualified majority will be reached with 232 votes;
  • all new Member States will be represented in the Commission as from 1 May 2004 with one national as a Member. The same principle will be extended to the current Member States as from the term of the next Commission which has been advanced from January 2005 to 1 November 2004.

The new Member States will also be adequately represented in accordance with the existing applicable rules in the Court of Justice and Court of First Instance, the Court of Auditors, other organs and bodies established by the Treaties (including the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Euratom Supply Agency) and committees, agencies and other bodies established by secondary law. Furthermore, the national languages of the acceding countries will be recognized as official languages to be used by the European institutions.

State of Play

In line with the road map for accession negotiations, the Chapter was provisionally closed with five countries in April 2002 (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland and Romania) and with four countries in June 2002 (Estonia, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia). After the remaining key institutional issues were solved for the ten acceding States at the European Councils in Brussels and Copenhagen, negotiations on this Chapter were closed on 13 December 2002 with all ten acceding States, including Czech Republic, Hungary and Latvia. The chapter has also been definitely closed with Bulgaria and Romania in December 2004.

Compliance with the acquis

Contrary to other chapters most of the acquis in this chapter does not require specific legal approximation and implementation measures by the candidate countries prior to accession. New Member States will exercise their rights, on the same terms as other Member States, through participation in the EU institutions.

Country by country

Bulgaria

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2004
  • Transitional arrangements: to be addressed later, as appropriate

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Estonia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Romania

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2004
  • Transitional arrangements: to be addressed later, as appropriate

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: first half of 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements: Parliament, Council (see above)

 updated: 17/12/2004

 
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