Nav 1-2: What the preambles tell us about integration

Length Browsing: 30 minutes Reporting: 40 minutes
  • To chart and compare ideas and ideals of European integration as they are expressed in different treaties.
  • To familiarize yourself with the language and style of treaties.

Preambles constitute the opening declarations of a treaty. The preambles provide an overview of the considerations and ambitions of the drafters of the treaty. Hence, reading these preambles can give a good indication of the mood that was prevailing at the time. In this exercise, you will look up these preambles and compare them.

  • Go to this Wikisource website, which has the texts of all major treaties and contains interesting information on the negotiation and ratification process of the treaties.
  • Chapter 1 of the book lists the most important treaties in Table 1.1. Locate the preambles of these treaties as well as the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty (which is not in the table, but is interesting for this exercise). Copy the parts which contain the drafters’ intentions (signalled by words such as ‘considering’, ‘affirming’ etc.).
  • Paste the parts in a new document so that it is possible to compare them.
  • What do the texts of the preambles tell you about the ambitions and aspirations of the treaties? Which of the treaty preambles is most ambitious about European integration, and which is the least ambitious?
  • Does the tone of the preambles fit the characterization of the EU’s history in chapter 1?
Links Treaties and declarations of the European Union

© All exercises copyright Herman Lelieveldt and Sebastiaan Princen 2022

Cambridge University Press