The EU Veto: The beginning of a New Treaty of Europe?

In January 2019 there was a push from Jean-Claude Juncker to abolish the EU MS veto in the area of taxation policy(also). But this can be seen by countries such as Ireland and Luxembourg as an attack on their “sweetheart” tax status for companies. They will have another set of allies in this particular fight. Spain, who is one of the more trigger-happy veto members, will see it as undermining their status within the EU, as well as an attack on their constitution, founded strongly on a “unified” identity.

Other smaller countries within the EU are keen to use this power as a means of protecting their borders and national interests (for better or worse). In short, it would cause less interference from member states regarding their interests.

But is this the worst thing for the EU to pursue? Without veto powers, regional governance will in time become more important as more legitimate policymaking can become realised. The transition of powers from nation to region would also act to empower regions traditionally kept opressed within their national communities and give them an opportunity to grow faster economically, providing a more comprehensive tax base for governing bodies on all levels of the democratic structure. This must be an interest for everyone.

Though this is a fairytale outcome of such policy-changing, there is still a very serious need for the EU to negotiate a more modern, comprehensive, and stronger constitution post-Lisbon and post-Brexit. If it has any chance of surviving the next 10 years, it needs a new treaty in the next 3-5. And Veto powers will definitely be a hot topic for these new treaty debates.

Shane Broderick

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