Amsterdam Treaty

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Treaty of Amsterdam
European Union Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts
Type Amender of the TEU, the TEC, the TEAEC, and the TECSC
Signed 2 October 1997
Location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Effective 1 May 1999
Depositary The Italian Government
Citations Prior amendment treaty:
Maastricht Treaty (1992)
Subsequent amendment treaty: Nice Treaty (2001)
Languages
Treaty of Amsterdam at Wikisource

After amendments made by the Amsterdam Treaty:
Consolidated version of EURATOM treaty (1997)


Consolidated version of the ECSC treaty (1997)

Consolidated version of TEC (1997)

Consolidated version of TEU (1997)
European Union
Flag of the European Union

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government
of the European Union

The Amsterdam Treaty, officially the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, was signed on 2 October 1997, and entered into force on 1 May 1999;[1] it made substantial changes to the Treaty of Maastricht, which had been signed in 1992.

Under the Treaty of Amsterdam, member states agreed to devolve certain powers from national governments to the European Parliament across diverse areas, including legislating on immigration, adopting civil and criminal laws, and enacting foreign and security policy (CFSP), as well as implementing institutional changes for expansion as new member nations join the EU.

Background[edit]

The treaty was the result of long negotiations which began in Messina, Sicily, on 2 June 1995, nearly forty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, and reached completion in Amsterdam on 18 June 1997. Following the formal signing of the Treaty on 2 October 1997, the Member States engaged in an equally long and complex ratification process. The European Parliament endorsed the treaty on 19 November 1997, and after two referendums and 13 decisions by parliaments, the Member States finally concluded the procedure.

Contents[edit]

The treaty of Amsterdam comprises 13 Protocols, 51 Declarations adopted by the Conference, and 8 Declarations by Member States, plus amendments to the existing Treaties set out in 15 Articles. Article 1 (containing 16 paragraphs) amends the general provisions of the Treaty on European Union and covers the CFSP and cooperation in criminal and police matters. The next four Articles (70 paragraphs) amend the EC Treaty, the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty (which expired in 2002), the Euratom Treaty, and the Act concerning the election of the European Parliament. The final provisions contain four Articles. The new Treaty also set out to simplify the Community Treaties, deleting more than 56 obsolete articles and renumbering the rest in order to make the whole more legible. By way of example, Article 189b on the codecision procedure became Article 251.

The most pressing concerns of ordinary Europeans, such as their legal and personal security, immigration, and fraud prevention, were all dealt with in other chapters of the Treaty. In particular, the EU became responsible for legislating on immigration, civil law or civil procedure, insofar as this is necessary for the free movement of persons within the EU. At the same time, intergovernmental co-operation was intensified in the police and criminal justice field so that Member States should be able to coordinate their activities more effectively. The Union aims to establish an area of freedom, security and justice for its citizens. The Schengen Agreements have now been incorporated into the legal system of the EU (Ireland and the United Kingdom remained outside the Schengen agreement, see Common Travel Area for details).

The Treaty lays down new principles and responsibilities in the field of the common foreign and security policy, with the emphasis on projecting the EU's values to the outside world, protecting its interests, and reforming its modes of action. The European Council will lay down common strategies, which will then be put into effect by the Council acting by a qualified majority, subject to certain conditions. In other cases, some Member States may choose to abstain "constructively", i.e. without actually preventing actions being taken.

The treaty introduced a High Representative for EU Foreign Policy who, together with the Presidents of the Council and the European Commission, puts a "name and a face" on EU policy to the outside world. Although the Amsterdam Treaty did not provide for a common defence, it did increase the EU's responsibilities for peacekeeping and humanitarian work, in particular by forging closer links with Western European Union.

As for the institutions, there were two major reforms concerning the co-decision procedure (the legislative procedure involving the European Parliament and the Council), affecting its scope—most legislation was adopted by the co-decision procedure—and its detailed procedures, with Parliament playing a much stronger role. The President of the Commission will also have to earn the personal trust of Parliament, which will give him the authority to lay down the Commission's policy guidelines and play an active part in choosing the Members of the Commission by deciding on their appointment by common accord with the national governments. These provisions make the Commission more politically accountable, particularly vis-à-vis the European Parliament. Finally, the new Treaty enables, under very strict conditions, closer co-operation between Member States which so wish. Closer co-operation may be established, on a proposal from the Commission, in cases where it is not possible to take joint action, provided that such steps do not undermine the coherence of the EU or the rights and equality of its citizens.

Challenges[edit]

The Amsterdam Treaty did not settle all institutional questions. Work was still in progress on reforming the institutions to make them capable of operating effectively and democratically in a much enlarged EU. The most pressing issues were the composition of the Commission and the weighting of Member States' votes upon qualified majority voting. These questions were addressed in the Treaty of Lisbon.

Amsterdam Treaty

Signatures[edit]

Amsterdam Treaty FA Belgium.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Denmark.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Finland.png Amsterdam Treaty FA France.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Greece.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Ireland.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Italy.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Luxembourg.png Amsterdam Treaty FA the Netherlands.png
 Belgium  Denmark  Finland  France  Greece  Ireland  Italy  Luxembourg  Netherlands
Amsterdam Treaty FA Portugal.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Spain.png Amsterdam Treaty FA the United Kingdom.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Sweden.png Amsterdam Treaty FA Germany.png Amsterdam Treaty Austria.png
 Portugal  Spain  UK  Sweden  Germany  Austria

EU evolution timeline[edit]

Signed:
In force:
Document:
1948
1948
Brussels
Treaty
1951
1952
Paris
Treaty
1954
1955
Modified
Brussels
Treaty
1957
1958
Rome
Treaty
&
EURATOM
1965
1967
Merger
Treaty
1975
1976
Council
Agreement
on TREVI
1986
1987
Single
European
Act
1985+90
1995
Schengen
Treaty
&
Convention
1992
1993
Maastricht Treaty (TEU)
1997
1999
Amsterdam
Treaty
2001
2003
Nice
Treaty
2007
2009
Lisbon
Treaty
 
Content: (founded WUDO) (founded ECSC) (protocol amending WUDO to become WEU) (founded EEC and EURATOM) (merging the legislative & administrative bodies of the 3 European communities) (founded TREVI) (amended: EURATOM, ECSC, EEC)+
(founded EPC)
(founded Schengen)
(implemented Schengen)
(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, and EEC to transform it into EC)+
(founded: JHA+CFSP)
(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, EC to also contain Schengen, and TEU where PJCC replaced JHA) (amended with focus on institutional changes: EURATOM, ECSC, EC and TEU) (abolished the 3 pillars and WEU by amending: EURATOM, EC=>TFEU, and TEU)
(founded EU as an overall legal unit with Charter of Fundamental Rights, and reformed governance structures & decision procedures)
 
                         
Three pillars of the European Union:  
European Communities
(with a single Commission & Council)
 
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)   
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty expired in 2002 European Union (EU)
    European Economic Community (EEC)   European Community (EC)
        Schengen Rules  
    Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism and Violence Internationally (TREVI) Justice and Home Affairs
(JHA)
  Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)
  European Political Cooperation (EPC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Western Union Defence Organization (WUDO) Western European Union (WEU)    
Treaty terminated in 2011    
                     

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]