Indeed, the plan for future enlargement of the EU has created concern surrounding the efficacy of the Union as more and more states become members. Recent reforms are trying to prevent the EU from “becoming paralysed by a brutal expansion of its membership”.1 This concerns many aspects of the EU, though focus within this paper will be on the institutional changes proposed.
As the number of member states increases, so does the need to maintain effective decision making. As the number of members within the institutions increases, the effectiveness of decision making and overall functioning of the institutional bodies is potentially compromised. More members considering a decision slows the process and potentially prevents measures from being passed; there is increasing possibility for dissent and disagreement. Yet there is a need to allow for accurate representation of each member state within the Union. This concerns the main institutions of the Union, and the extent to which they strike a balance between fair representation and the need to limit the number of deliberators to ensure effective and developmental decision making. It also concerns the role of national Parliaments and the extent to which they may participate. So how does the Treaty of Lisbon propose to alter the functioning of the institutions, if at all? What effect will this have on the future functioning of the European Union?
The reform of the EU institutions in response to enlargement was inevitable; the original framework was built around just 6 member states. As more states join, the need to alter the framework is essential, especially in light of the need to achieve the values stated in articles 1a and 8a of the Lisbon Treaty. If the ability to deliberate is affected in a negative way – as is an inevitable effect of enlargement – then the democratic functioning of the Union itself is diminished. The Nice Treaty had pledged to deal with decision