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7 Eur. L.J. 1 (2001)

handle is hein.journals/eurlj7 and id is 1 raw text is: 




European Law Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, March 2001, pp. 1-3.
() Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2001, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JK, UK
and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA



                                Editorial


                              Francis Snyder




Is Nice a nice Treaty? Overall, measured in terms of ideals for institutional reform
and economic  and social integration, the outcome of the summit was disappointing.
Nevertheless, amidst the details of negotiation, compromise, and opportunities lost,
several overriding points stand out.
  The most  evident is public recognition of the central role of Germany. The largest
country in terms of population, Germany  is the most important contributor to the
budget, a major determinant of economic and monetary  policy, and one of the basic
sources of EU legal principles and legal culture. Soon it will be at the geographical
heart of today's European  Union.  A dose  of political realism, the recognition of
Germany  as the main player in European integration, though resisted, countered, and
even blunted in its public expression, emerges clearly from Nice.
  Another  key point is the openness of the EU to enlargement. The Nice Summit sent
a clear message to the candidate countries that enlargement will definitely happen, and
soon. The necessary institutional reforms have not yet all been agreed, but it is clear
that enlargement will go ahead. Institutional reforms, if they are made at all, will
unfortunately now have to be negotiated under great pressure at the last minute, but
this seems to be the EU style. Intense pressure for institutional reform is not, however,
the only implication of enlargement. Enlargement means an inevitable change in the
shape of European  integration: not simply geographical shape, but more crucially
legal, political, economic and social shape. It means a more diverse EU, in which the
drift of events probably implies greater decentralisation and looser integration unless a
great deal of imagination, influence and power is brought to bear on the legal and
political structures of the EU and its Member States to produce a conjunction of unity
and diversity that is socially legitimate and politically manageable.
  A third important element of Nice is the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Arguably
not necessary and  perhaps  even superfluous from  the legal standpoint, and the
product of many  compromises,  the Charter nevertheless has a significance, first in
its potentially great symbolic value, and second as a further step or marker of the
political and legal progress of European integration. In addition, it is likely, even in its
current form, to have a very important effect on EU law and politics, both within the
EU  as it currently stands, and in the process of enlargement and in the relations with
other countries.
  These  three outcomes of Nice-the   recognition of Germany,  the imminence  of
enlargement, and the statement of fundamental rights-are intimately interrelated in
the EU  of today. It will be interesting to see in a few years, with the benefit of
hindsight, if these same points remain as salient as they are now. For the time being,
these important developments shift the agenda of the EU in ways that need to be taken
fully into account in teaching, research, and practice in EU law. Some of the questions

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