Amendment and ratification of EU Treaties
Produced in partnership with Laura Bolado of Andes Legal Consulting Ltd

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Laura Bolado of Andes Legal Consulting Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Amendment and ratification of EU Treaties
  • Ordinary revision procedure
  • Example
  • Simplified procedures
  • Proper simplified procedure
  • Example
  • Passerelle (or bridging) clause
  • Ratification
  • A word of caution

Amendment and ratification of EU Treaties

The amendment of the EU Treaties is essential for the development of the European Union. It allows EU legislation and policies to be adapted to the new challenges that the EU has to face, or simply to further develop the degree of integration achieved. Before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, there was only one procedure for the revision of the Treaties. It required an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), a conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States convened by the President of the Council, to be convened on a compulsory basis.

Considering the long time it took for the Lisbon Treaty to be agreed, its drafters decided to make possible, in the years to come, minor amendments to the Treaties without the need of an IGC.

The Lisbon Treaty slightly amended the previous ordinary revision procedure by increasing the participation of the European Parliament and Member States’ national parliaments. It created two types of simplified procedures in order to facilitate the revision of certain provisions of the Treaties. The revision procedures are described in Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). According to Article 48(1) TEU:

'The Treaties may be amended in accordance with an ordinary revision procedure. They may also be amended in accordance with simplified revision procedures.'

Whichever procedure is followed Member States must

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