Document Type


Publication Date



Peter Herzog's career-long interest in the European Communities makes it especially appropriate to include in this festschrift a contribution on what has become the principal mechanism for reforming the treaties that constitute those Communities. I refer of course to the "intergovernmental conferences," or "IGCs" for short. As this festschrift goes to press, the fifteen Member States are submitting the results of the latest IGC – the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam – to their respective national ratification processes.

As its name suggests, the intergovernmental conference is a gathering of representatives of the Member States to discuss and eventually agree upon amendments to the constitutive treaties as they then stand. The EC Treaty, by its own terms, requires that all treaty amendments be prepared by such an intergovernmental conference and be submitted to the Member States for their separate ratification, and the Treaty on European Union (the TEU or Maastricht Treaty) contains a parallel provision. In point of fact, the recent Amsterdam Treaty is little more than a set of amendments to the EC Treaty and the TEU.


European Law | International Trade Law | Law