These new instruments under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union (Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) will replace the joint action once the Treaty of Amsterdam enters into force. More binding and more authoritative, they should serve to make action under the reorganised third pillar more effective.
Framework decisions will be used to approximate the laws and regulations of the Member States. They will be binding on the Member States as to the result to be achieved but leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods.
Decisions will be used for any purpose other than the approximation of the laws and regulations of the Member States. They will be binding and the measures required to implement them at Union level will be adopted by the Council acting by a qualified majority.
The Declaration is an instrument for which there is no provision in Title V of the Treaty on European Union but which was a feature of European political cooperation (EPC). It is not a mandatory instrument and is still frequently used under the CFSP.
Deepening is the term used to describe the strengthening of certain policies which may sometimes be coupled with institutional reforms designed to develop European integration. It has often been viewed as a necessary step prior to enlargement.
The democratic deficit is a concept invoked principally in the argument that the European Union suffers from a lack of democracy and is becoming remote from the ordinary citizen because its method of operating is so complex. The view is that the Community institutional set-up is dominated by an institution combining legislative and government powers (the Council) and an institution that lacks democratic legitimacy (the Commission - even though its Members are appointed by the Member States, subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament, and collectively accountable to Parliament).
The view that the Community suffers from a democratic deficit should diminish after the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which provides for an extension of the European Parliament's powers and a regular supply of information to national parliaments. The Treaty also states that it "marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen".
Differentiated integration means a process of integration in which the Member States opt to move forward at different speeds and/or towards different objectives, in contrast to the notion of a monolithic bloc of States pursuing identical objectives at a single speed.
With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the concept of differentiated integration will be expressed in practical terms in general clauses written into a new title of the Treaty on European Union dealing with closer cooperation.
Given the prospect of an enlarged European Union, proposals have been put together for maintaining the current balance between "large" countries and "small" countries in Council decision-making. Requiring a majority both of the Member States and of the population of the Union to be in favour before any decision can be taken in the Council would be a way of avoiding what some see as the over-representation of the smaller countries. For instance, the qualified-majority threshold (currently about 70%) could be maintained, but Member States voting in favour would have to represent three fifths of the total population. The thresholds for this double majority could vary depending on the subject.
The institutional question of how decisions will be taken in an enlarged Europe was not resolved at the last Intergovernmental Conference. When the Treaty of Amsterdam enters into force, a Protocol on the institutions with the prospect of enlargement will be annexed to the Treaty on European Union, linking the question of decision-making in the Council to the size of the Commission. The Protocol states that from the date of the next enlargement, the Commission will comprise one national of each of the Member States, provided that the weighting of the votes in the Council has been modified by then, either by reweighting of votes or by double majority. It also provides for a new intergovernmental conference to be convened at least one year before the number of Union members exceeds twenty in order to review the rules on the functioning of the Union institutions.
Globalization and Workers' Rights