Past Program

Nov 07 - Nov 10, 2008

2008 LAWSS Symposium - Which Way for Europe? The Reform Treaty and the European Union


In 2005, European Union officials were sent back to the drawing board in their attempts to streamline the often inefficient and slow-reacting bodies of the European Union. Referenda in France and the Netherlands had rejected the proposed constitution showing just how difficult achieving unanimity across the continent can be. The result of the next two years of revision and renewed compromise, the Treaty of Lisbon (or Reform Treaty), looked ready to take the place of the failed constitution and achieve greater efficiency in the internal workings of Europe’s institutions, assign a single figure to the implementation of the block’s foreign policy, and improve cooperation on EU internal security. June 2008, however, saw the rise of a major stumbling block in the Union’s progress as the people of Ireland, the only country to hold a referendum on ratification, rejected it.

While support for the Treaty is strong amongst European governments, the recent “no” vote in Ireland highlights the degree to which concerns about national sovereignty and a general lack of understanding about the role of the Treaty still abound amongst Europe’s citizens. An increase in the number of policy areas decided by a majority rather than consensus would change the face of politics at the EU level, as would the introduction of representation based on population. How would the newly created High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security deal with rifts within the EU around policy toward strategic partners such as the USA, NATO, and the Union’s neighbor Russia? Would the High Representative push the EU towards the eventual use of the community method on Common Foreign and Security Policy despite current reluctance on the part of national governments to relinquish such decisions? Progress in reform of Justice and Home Affairs will open decisions on very sensitive issues including asylum, immigration, visa policy, data protection, and criminal justice to the realm of majority voting, but would protocols allowing countries to “opt-out” or use an “emergency brake” should they feel their national systems infringed upon, detract from real unity? In addition to all these issues, European law makers must now also consider how to drive reform forward, if at all. The 2008 LAWSS symposium will focus on the possible futures of the European Union's new reform treaty, the practical implications of the expansion of the EU on current and future member countries, and jurisdictional issues regarding EU legislation procedures and legal frameworks.

The Symposium is open to all the Salzburg Seminar alumni and young professionals of exceptional promise interested in law on a space available basis. Alumni are welcome to bring guests. The program will include plenary presentations, discussion and working groups. In addition, informal events include a concert, barbeque, receptions, gala dinner and a tour of the famous Salzburg Lake District.

Payment Information: The fee for this symposium is 600€ for a single room and 950€ for a double room. The fee includes room and board for three nights, tuition, tour, fees, and social events. Special discounts for children under 12 are available on request. Payment may be made by credit card or by bank transfer: (Bankhaus Carl Spängler & Co., Salzburg, Account No.: AT 401953000100180942; BIC: SPAEAT2S UID-No.: ATU33978602).

In order to reserve a space, a completed registration form and a 100 Euro deposit (refundable until October 1, 2008) is required. Spaces are limited and reservations will be confirmed in the order in which they are received. For further information, contact Ian Brown in the Salzburg Global Seminar alumni office (