Summary: It seems that the smaller Member States should not be very happy with the draft Constitution presented at the Thessaloniki European Council with respect to the three major issues discussed - the permanent President of the European Council, the size and composition of the Commission and the election of the Commission President. The permanent Council chair, as suggested in the Praesidium proposal, will not be much of an asset to the small members nor to the EU as a whole. There are also strong arguments in favour of equal representation of Member States in the Commission rather than creating a two-tier system. With respect to the election of the Commission President, the stance of the small states is more divergent and seems to go more along pro-federalist versus inter-governmentalist patterns. Most small countries favour enhancing the democratic legitimacy of the Commission but the current proposal is not likely to enhance the democratic legitimacy of the President. If the smaller Member States want to achieve any significant shift forward in the power sharing mechanisms of the future Union of 25, they should advocate more ambitious and perhaps even more provocative proposals than they have done so far. The only chance for them is to prepare well for the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference. Given the current distribution of power, they should perhaps co-ordinate their positions as most of the points discussed are not issues where their interests would diverge dramatically. Otherwise the whole battle is likely to end up at the horse trading at the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference. If they do not succeed, they risk that the current "tyranny of the small" will become a "directoire" of the big.
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ISBN: 92-9079-445-3
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