Amsterdam and Nice Treaties

With regards to the Enlargement process, the Amsterdam Treaty took into account that the European Union was still operating under the same rules it had when there was only six members. At the time of the Amsterdam treaty there were fifteen members and more on the way, so renegotiation of the rules and institutions was essential if there was to be any hope of the Union functioning after enlarging. Areas needing to be reformed were the composition of the Commission, the weighting of votes in the Council and the extension of qualified majority voting.

Qualified majority voting was essential to the successive enlargements of the EU and although it already applied to a large number of policies, several important issues remained subject to the unanimity rule. This is one of the major issues as to why the reform process of the Nice Treaty was necessary, and why the post-Amsterdam status quo would not do. For it is widely accepted that as the EU enlarges it will become increasingly difficult for unanimous decisions to be taken, perhaps even to become impossible at some point due to the conflicting interests of so many different Member States, and although the Treaty o



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