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Treaty Change after Lisbon: Is there No End in Sight?

David Phinnemore

With the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon the EU's appetite for treaty reform seemed sated. There would be nofurther reforms for a decade at least. Yet in 2010 an intergovernmental conference agreed a new treaty protocoland the European Council signalled its support for the simplified revision procedure to be used for the first time toamend Article 136 TFEU on economic governance in the eurozone. A passerelle was also used to alter thegeographical application of the treaties. At the same time the UK government's proposed EU Bill envisaged areferendum lock on future treaty amendments and the use of passerelles. This paper explores the significance ofthese developments for the future of the EU's treaties and assesses whether they herald an era of ad hocamendments and treaty change based on the passerelles and the new simplified revision procedures. It alsoassesses the significance of these developments in the light of the UK government's EU Bill, exploring theimplications that the latter may have for treaty reform, for enhancing the UK's obstructionist credentials, and forfurther marginalizing the UK within the EU.

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