Launch of ‘Research Handbook on EU Institutional Law’

The Lisbon Treaty marked a watershed in the European integration process. With the ink still wet after having signed off on a decade of institutional reform negotiations, the EU was severely hit by the deepest global financial and economic crisis since the end of the Second World War. At the time, the EU’s “obsession with restructuring its internal arrangements” was famously compared to “rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic”. In view of the multiple challenges that have plagued the Union since, Danuta Hübner, MEP, Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee and Member of the CEPS Board of DIrectors, hosted a roundtable meeting at the European Parliament on October 19th to discuss the question whether EU institutional law is resilient enough to face tomorrow’s crises. The seminar marked the launch of a Research Handbook on EU Institutional Law, co-edited by Adam Łazowski (University of Westminster) and Steven Blockmans (CEPS and University of Amsterdam). Joaquin Almunia, former (Vice-)European Commissioner (2004-14) and Member of the CEPS Board offered his comments on the book, which gives a critical look into the European Union’s legal foundations, competences and institutions. It provides an analysis of the EU legal system, its application at the national level and the prevalent role of the Court of Justice. Throughout the Handbook, the expert contributors (both from academia and the EU institutions) assess whether the call for an EU reform made in the Laeken Conclusions in 2001 has been answered by the Treaty of Lisbon and in the ensuing daily practice of the EU institutions. The authors, as indeed, the discussants at the Roundtable meeting, conclude that the Lisbon Treaty has plugged a lot of gaps and offers considerable ‘legal stretch’ to deal with some of the institutional challenges that the EU faces. Decision-making, in particular, could benefit from the use of the ‘passerelle’ clause (which allows the Council to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting), the mechanisms of constructive abstention and provisions on enhanced cooperation in designated policy areas. A Table of Contents and list of contributing authors, can be found on the website of the publisher, Edgar Elgar: