The declarations and protocols annexed to the Treaty
Many additional protocols to the Treaty and declarations adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference have been annexed to the Treaty of Nice. The protocols have the same legal status as the Treaty itself, while the declarations have political value.
There are four protocols:
- the Protocol on the Enlargement of the European Union (EU), which concerns the composition of the Parliament and of the Commission, and the weighting of votes in the Council;
- the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance;
- the Protocol on the financial consequences of the expiry of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC Treaty);
- the Protocol on Article 67 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty) (cooperation between the administrations of the Member States in the areas of "visa, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons").
The twenty-four declarations relate mainly to:
- the future of the Union;
- the venue for European Councils;
- the qualified majority threshold;
- the common position to be taken by Member States in the accession negotiations on the allocation of seats in the European Parliament, the weighting of votes in the Council, the composition of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for a Union with 27 members;
- the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance.
DECLARATION ON THE FUTURE OF THE UNION
In Declaration No 23 annexed to the Treaty of Nice, the Member States called for a deeper and wider debate about the future of the Union, focusing on four major areas:
- the delimitation of powers;
- the status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
- simplification of the Treaties;
- the role of the national parliaments.
The Declaration provides that, after these preparatory steps, a new IGC will be convened in 2004. Those candidate states which have concluded accession negotiations with the Union will be allowed to participate in the Conference.
This Declaration thus proposes to pursue institutional reform beyond the results obtained at the 2000 IGC with a view to finding fully satisfactory ways of making an enlarged Union of 27 or more Member States function effectively and democratically.
VENUE FOR THE EUROPEAN COUNCILS
Declaration No 22 annexed to the Treaty of Nice provides that "as from 2002, one European Council meeting per Presidency will be held in Brussels. When the Union comprises 18 members, all European Council meetings will be held in Brussels". This Declaration concerns only the formal European Council meetings; the presidencies are free to organise the informal European Council meetings wherever they choose.
FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE EXPIRY OF THE ECSC TREATY
This Protocol provides for all assets and liabilities of the ECSC to be transferred to the European Community following expiry of the ECSC Treaty in July 2002. The net value of these assets and liabilities is to be used for research in the sectors related to the coal and steel industries.