Treaty of Amsterdam
- Treaty of Amsterdam (Photo: http://europa.eu.int/comm/mediatheque/photo/select)
Negotiated in 1997, it entered into force in 1999.
The Treaty of Amsterdam:
- allowed more policy areas to be decided by qualified majority in the Council.
- introduced a chapter on Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (replacing the Chapter on Justice and Home Affairs introduced by Maastricht) - including the Schengen Acquis.
- included The Common Defence and Security Policy with the so-called Petersberg-Tasks.
- provided for enhanced co-operation for hard core EU countries committed to deeper integration. This required unanimity and has never been used. Now, the Treaty of Nice has qualified majority voting to launch enhanced co-operation.
- introduced the function of the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Britain and the Treaty of Amsterdam
The 1997 Amsterdam summit focused on drafting a treaty to update and clarify the Maastricht Treaty and to start preparing the European Union for enlargement.
UK objections at Maastricht had meant that the Social Chapter had never passed into law. But at Amsterdam, the newly-elected Labour government dropped its opt-out making the Social Chapter part of the Treaty.