In its resolution of 22 October 1998, the European Parliament emphasises the importance of reviving the debate on the future development of the European Union and affirms that the EU’s political future requires institutional reform, which, despite notable progress, has not been achieved by the Treaty of Amsterdam.
In its resolution of 6 May 1999, the European Parliament sets out its views on the method to be applied for the forthcoming institutional reform. It also provides a timetable for the preparations and arrangements for the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference.
In an independent report on the institutional implications of enlargement submitted to the European Commission on 18 October 1999, Richard von Weizsäcker, Jean-Luc Dehaene and David Simon propose a comprehensive reform of the institutional system of the European Union on the basis of a reorganisation of the Treaties.
On 10 and 11 December 1999, the Helsinki European Council decides to open accession negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Romania. By stating that, ‘in the negotiations, each candidate State will be judged on its own merits’, the European Council consolidates the principle of differentiation.
On 26 January 2000, at the request of the Council and pursuant to Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union, the European Commission delivers an opinion on the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference. This opinion identifies the limits of the current institutional framework and, on some matters, includes proposed amendments to treaty articles.
On 12 July 2000, following the feasibility study on a reorganisation of the treaties carried out by the Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, the European Commission considers that such a reorganisation is achievable at the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).