General presentation


Le progrès (c) Hanel

On 9 May 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed ‘to place Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole under a common higher authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe'. This political act marked the beginning of a new type of legal relationship between France and Germany and, more broadly, between the states that would join this initiative. By means of various treaties, elements of sovereignty were transferred from the realm of states to a series of new international organisations (the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community, the European Atomic Energy Community and, since 2009, the European Union), where they are exercised by the institutions belonging to these organisations. The law produced by these institutions concerns not only the Member States but also directly affects their citizens, paving the way to ever closer union.


As the years have passed, this process has had to be consolidated for various reasons, including the changing geopolitical and economic environment, the need to allocate new responsibilities at supranational level to meet common objectives, the accession of new states to the European Communities — today the European Union — and the growing public demands for democracy and efficiency. This has made it necessary to revise the founding treaties, to modernise the institutional architecture and to rethink the relationship between citizens and the Communities/Union. After 12 years of fierce debate, this revision process was completed with the Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed on 13 December 2007 and entered into force on 1 December 2009. This treaty introduced a series of substantive changes that aimed to guarantee a greater degree of efficiency, democracy and transparency within the EU.


The CVCE's Lisbon project aims to analyse these changes to treaties and institutions by focusing on two research areas in particular. The first analyses the ways and means by which the basic treaties governing the various European Communities and the European Union can been changed. This analysis will be presented as a digital research corpus that will examine the procedures for revision of the treaties, their implementation and the terms of negotiation, as well as the end results and the doctrinal and political commentary that followed. The second research area focuses on which might be termed ‘the genius (but also the gamble) of the Communities' founders': the Community institutional system. A subject file will set out the guiding principles, the various components and the modus operandi of this system. The digital research corpus and the subject file are both incorporated into the dedicated research and education platforms on the site These two publications are subject to a peer review process by a committee of external experts. They include a selection of relevant resources for their respective target audiences (the research community and the teaching and lifelong learning communities), including varied and often previously unpublished material in several languages and from a wide range of archives, as well as sources created by the CVCE team.

Project manager: Frédéric Allemand