Wednesday 4 November 2009

Three Pillars, Two Treaties, and the One European Union

In the past, the European Union was based on three pillars but in less than a month these pillars will be no more.

Future students of the EU will read about these pillars in history books, they will try to understand the differences between the European Community and the European Union (that no citizen without EU expertise has ever understood anyway), and they will wonder how anyone could see the European Union, based on two interrelated Treaties, the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as different legal entities and not as the one thing that it should have been from the beginning but that it needed to become over a long period of political and legal fights.

Nevertheless, it is now true that from 1 December 2009, the European Union will finally have to stand alone, not on three pillars but on the shoulders of 500 million citizens living in its 27 member states.