From the Constitution to the Lisbon Treaty
Edited by Maurizio Carbone
Alberta Sbragia The tortuous path followed by the Treaty of Lisbon is open to a multiplicity of interpretations. Its negotiation and ratification have no parallel. It is true that the Maastricht Treaty was viewed at the time as exhibiting a surprising amount of contentiousness on the part of the public, and that the later Treaty of Nice also led to a focus on Irish referenda. However, the Constitutional Treaty and the subsequent Treaty of Lisbon occupy a special place in the pantheon of contested steps towards European integration. The conflictual nature of both the negotiation and ratification processes can be viewed in two ways. One focuses on the specific characteristics of the Constitutional and Lisbon Treaties. From that vantage point, the issues of institutional representation of concern to governmental elites are especially salient. The struggles for more power by the ‘big’ countries along with the attempts by the ‘medium’ countries (especially Poland) to negotiate rules which would help them wield power in a future EU are especially salient. In a similar vein, the issues surrounding European integration have become politicized. That is, public attitudes towards the goal of further integration (finalité politique), the ‘left–right’ cleavage which at the national level has structured politics for many decades, and issues of identity have all emerged as factors which have encouraged the politicization of European integration. In the scholarly literature, a lively debate has erupted as to whether these three dimensions are in fact as important as their proponents claim (Hooge and...