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European Communities (Amendment) Act 2002


3.The Treaty of Nice reforms the institutions of the European Union (the EU) to enable the EU to operate effectively after the accession of the applicant Member States.  The key institutional changes include:

  • changes to the size and organisation of the College of Commissioners;

  • revision of the current system of weighted votes in the Council;

  • extension of qualified majority voting in the Council and co-decision with the European Parliament;

  • changes to the procedures set out in the Amsterdam Treaty for authorising a group of Member States to use the EU’s institutions to move ahead with activity in certain areas, even though not all Member States want to take part (enhanced co-operation);

  • changes to the distribution of seats in the European Parliament after enlargement;

  • a package of reforms to alleviate the growing burden on the European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance.

The UK signed the Treaty of Nice on 26 February 2001 and the Act will enable the UK to ratify the Treaty.  The Treaty of Nice has been published as Command Paper Cm5090, European Community Series No. 1 (2001), entitled “Treaty of Nice amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related Acts including the Protocols with Final Act and Declarations”.

4.The Act will extend to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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