At the European Council meeting in December 2001, the Heads of State and
Government of the Member States examined the challenges facing the European
Union, especially those posed by enlargement and the changing global context.
The Member States agreed that there was a need for a wide debate on the future
of Europe. One of the key questions was whether the Union needed a new Constitution,
or basic set of rules, to equip it for the future. A
was established to consider and report on these
The Convention was asked to examine how to bring Europe closer to its citizens,
how to ensure that the Union can play a positive role on the international
stage, and how the organisation of the Union can be improved to ensure that
it is as effective as possible.
After 17 months’ work, the Convention presented a draft European Constitution
to the European Council in June 2003. It recommended that the new Constitution
should replace existing EU Treaties.
The European Council welcomed the Convention's draft, which was used as
the basis for the work of an Intergovernmental
(IGC), in which the Governments reached agreement on
the final text of the Constitution on 18 June 2004.