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Reviews
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our books on the European Treaties




Go to reviews of each book:

'The Treaty of Lisbon in Perspective'

'The European Constitution in Perspective'

'Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe'

'The Treaty of Nice in Perspective'

'The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective'

'The Maastricht Treaty in Perspective'










'The Treaty of Lisbon in Perspective'




The Financial Times 19 June 2008:

"Why the Irish were right to say no"

"If you are looking for examples of nonsense on stilts you could hardly find a better instance than the reactions of the European political establishment to the Irish No vote in the referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

"To begin with, it is not “a defeat for Europe”. It is not even a defeat for the European Union. It is a defeat for a certain vision of the EU.

"First and foremost there is the goal of shifting more and more decisions to the EU level. This started after the second world war as a noble effort to end all possibility of war between Germany and France. It was twinned with the creation of a large area of liberal trade, in a world still full of restrictions. As the original goals have been lost in the mists of time, the aim of “more Europe” has been pursued by the leading group of politicians and bureaucrats for its own sake, even to extending to the Brussels level decisions that are left to the state level in the US.

"There was something to be said for bringing together all the many European treaties into a single document. But the framers of the ill-fated constitutional treaty were determined to extend the EU competence. When France and the Netherlands threw this out in their referendums the eurocrats came up with the Lisbon treaty. Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, who presided over the original convention, declared that it amounted to the same thing.

"The main difference is that instead of a single comprehensive document the Lisbon treaty consists of a series of amendments to existing treaties. An excellent 354-page compilation has been produced by the British Management Data Foundation, “The Treaty of Lisbon in Perspective”, which prints the main existing treaties together with the Lisbon treaty. The work is strictly impartial and the authors’ misgivings are confined to two pages entitled “British Business Concerns”.

"There is everything to be said for ending the ridiculous six-monthly rotation of the EU presidency. But two other provisions should be stressed. The first is the notorious passerelle clause, which provides for unanimous agreement to extend majority voting to new areas. But once that happens can individual governments ever reclaim jurisdiction? These are among the many matters left open for decision by the federalist-inclined European Court of Justice. The BMDF publication recalls Sir John Major’s boast when he was British prime minister that the subsidiarity provisions of Maastricht would enable perhaps 25 per cent of EU regulations to be repatriated to member states. Not one has been.

"Another little-noticed change is that the so-called Charter of Fundamental Rights which, unlike the much earlier pre-EU European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights, enshrines collective bargaining and union privileges, is to have the same legal value as the treaties. The UK and Poland have a protocol stating that no extension of EU competence over national labour law is intended. But how safe is this exemption?

"If some European countries such as Germany and France and a few others want to develop the centralist and corporatist model further, I do not see the objection. Indeed we are likely to see not a two-speed but a multi-speed Europe, even though the British Foreign Office will worry that the UK might not be absolutely sure of a seat at an imaginary top table. Too bad.”




eurofacts 11 April 2008

"Finally, a book that will enable the ordinary citizens of this country to fight back"

”It is difficult to find superlatives that adequately describe this book. The task of analysing the “Lisbon” Treaty and tracing the origin of its articles back through the failed Constitution and all the previous treaties to the Treaty of Rome is monumental: and the work is indeed a monument to the extraordinary diligence, forensic skills and perspicacity of the authors, the father-and-son team of Anthony and Andrew Cowgill.

”The book is also remarkable for the simplicity and clarity of its language, coupled with the impeccable neutrality of its standpoint: neither pro- “European” nor sceptical: just describing the treaties as they are. No wonder that even europhile New Labour ministers have used previous publications in this series in debates in Parliament, in preference to the limp offerings of the Foreign Office, whose brief, faithfully discharged, is to make “Europe” as incomprehensible as possible.

”In explaining how the Constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005 metamorphosed into the Lisbon Treaty, the Cowgills reproduce the following unequivocal quotes from Valery Giscard d’Estaing:

“I have given myself the task of comparing the new Lisbon treaty with the Constitution on the “nine essential points” published on this blog. To my surprise and in truth, to my great satisfaction, these nine points are repeated word for word in the new project. There is not a single comma that has changed.” (VGE’s blog, 23rd November 2007)

”Giscard’s nine points are:

  • Legal personality.

  • The fixed presidency for the period of two and a half years, as opposed to the current system of six monthly rotating presidencies among the Member States.

  • Creation of the role of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, renamed the “High Representative for the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy”.

  • Definition and separation of competences.

  • The legislative procedure for the ordinary and special legislative procedures.

  • Role of the national parliaments under the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

  • Number of commissioners to be reduced to two thirds of the number of Member States.

  • Confirmation of the Commission’s sole right to initiate legislation.

  • Definition of the voting procedures for qualified majority voting.

”The Lisbon Treaty, if ratified, will be the true Constitution of the United Kingdom. For 99.9 per cent of British citizens it will be utterly incomprehensible. That is its whole point. The legal profession must be salivating at the prospect of yet more highly-paid fees “earned” in guiding ordinary mortals through the Treaty’s dense undergrowth. The Cowgills’ extraordinary achievement is to have produced an analysis which will enable citizens of this country to fight back.”




The Sunday Telegraph 20 January 2008:

"MPs required to ratify Lisbon treaty without reading it"

"In an almost unprecedented display of contempt for Parliament, the Government will tomorrow ask MPs to approve the EU treaty even before they have a proper chance to examine what it is they are voting on.

"Despite Gordon Brown’s promise that the Commons would be allowed three months to discuss the treaty in detail - as a sop for breaking his promise that it would be put to a referendum - the only text MPs will be allowed to see is a mass of disjointed amendments to previous EU treaties which, out of context, are virtually meaningless.

"Only after this week’s crucial Second Reading will MPs be able to read the first “consolidated” text of the treaty, putting all those amendments in context, in such a way that their significance can be understood.

"And even this will not be provided by the Government but thanks to a small private business organisation, the British Management Data Foundation (BMDF), run from the Cotswolds by Brigadier Anthony Cowgill and his son Andrew, and funded by some of Britain’s leading blue-chip companies.

"Ever since the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon - the new version of the EU constitution rejected in 2005 - Andrew Cowgill has been working round the clock to compile The Treaty of Lisbon in Perspective, a 448-page text of the treaty with invaluable analysis.

"This is the latest in the BMDF’s series of masterly publications which have helped to make the texts of successive EU treaties accessible to politicians, businessmen, lawyers and anyone else needing to understand the supranational system of government we now live under.

"Brigadier Cowgill launched the BMDF series in 1992 when he discovered that the Major government was hoping to force through the Maastricht Treaty without giving MPs a full text.

"When a minister, Tristan Garel-Jones, said that it would be “presumptuous” of the Government to publish a complete text until the treaty had been ratified, the BMDF compiled an authoritative version of its own, copies of which were supplied to every MP in time for the crucial Commons Second Reading.

"But on that occasion three months elapsed between the treaty’s signing and the Commons vote. This time, the EU’s leaders are determined to get their treaty ratified as quickly as possible, and Mr Brown has insisted that MPs must approve it in principle barely a month after the signing.

"Only by the end of this week will draft copies of the BMDF’s version of Lisbon be available (to order, ring 01452 812837; cost £27.50). By then MPs will have been dragooned into approving it without knowing precisely what they are voting for.

"All that will be left to them, over the next two months, will be to discuss amendments to the Government’s Bill in committee, knowing that nothing they say can influence the treaty’s contents in any way.

"The only vote which matters is this week’s, which Mr Brown relies on to endorse his signing of the treaty in December. Thus will MPs be asked to give away another huge tranche of our powers to govern ourselves without even being allowed to know what they are giving away. Like Mr Brown’s broken promise of a referendum, it seems a suitably seedy epitaph for our democracy."







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'The European Constitution in Perspective'




Agence Europe

Bulletin Quotidien Europe 8893; 22 February 2005

European Library: N° 630

"Without doubt, this monumental book (over 300 pages of A4) [BMDF Note: 384 pages] will be a precious working tool for anyone needing to find their away around the European constitutional texts.

"Initially, it provides a detailed analysis of key elements (particularly those likely to be of interest to the business world) of the Constitution that has now been submitted for ratification, commenting on the articles judged to be the most relevant and establishing connections with corresponding articles in previous treaties. One section reviews the changes made in the voting procedures, with unanimous voting giving way to qualified majority decision-making.

"The Treaty in the form validated by the Intergovernmental Conference is published unabridged, but reduced from 844 pages to 270. Detailed annexes and an index supplement this book, a precious guide for people needing to know what’s going on in Europe."





The Sunday Telegraph 5 December 2004:

"The EU Constitution, as published in the Cotswolds"

"Brig Cowgill and his son Andrew have produced the first easily readable version of the whole EU Constitution"

"When Tony Blair and his fellow EU heads of government met in Rome on October 29 to sign the new EU constitution, they were not putting their names to the document itself because it still didn’t exist. Only tomorrow will anyone be able to read the text of the constitution set out in full in a single document – thanks to an independent publishing venture run from a small office in the Cotswolds.

"There have been so many amendments to the constitutional draft agreed last summer that the EU itself will not be publishing a complete text until early next year. At the moment it still consists of 844 pages scattered across its websites. But thanks to a remarkable feat of detailed research by the British Management Data Foundation, run by Anthony Cowgill and his son Andrew, it will be possible, at last, for members of the public to read precisely what the EU’s politicians have agreed to in their name, to see what is new in it,and its wide-ranging implications.

"In coming months, as the constitution moves to the top of the political agenda, with a referendum likely early in 2006, the BMDF’s definitive version of the constitution text, with a wealth of explanatory material, is certain to become something of a best-seller. For politicians, the media and anyone concerned with the implications of the Constitution for the future of Britain and Europe, it will become the single most authoritative, user-friendly version of a document at the centre of national debate.

"The BMDF is a small organisation, financed by more than 20 of Britain’s leading companies, set up to liaise at top level between government and big business and to compile data necessary for understanding issues related to Britain’s competitiveness.

"Twelve years ago, Anthony Cowgill was shocked to learn that Parliament was being asked to approve the Maastricht Treaty before the full text of what John Major had agreed to was made available for MPs to read in any form they could understand.

"The late Sir Keith Joseph circulated 1,500 copies of the BMDF’s ‘consolidated’ version of the treaty to politicians, showing the Maastricht amendments in context.

"Since then the BMDF’s updated versions of the Amsterdam and Nice treaties have won semi-official status and are looked on as indispensible by ministers, top civil servants, lawyers and the business world. Baroness Thatcher once had to order a new copy of a BMDF edition of a treaty because she had given hers to Henry Kissinger.

"Those who pay tribute to the BMDF’s work on the cover of The European Constitution in Perspective range from Sir Stephen Wall, the committed Europhile who until recently was Mr Blair’s chief adviser on EU affairs, to Lord Willoughby de Broke, one of the most respected Eurosceptics in the House of Lords.

"A measure of the BMDF’s achievement is that, in the months before the constitution was signed, no fewer than 87 new amendments and discussion papers were issued - in such bewildering succession that, when Mr Blair and his colleagues came to affix their names, there had been no time to assemble a complete text. The BMDF has consolidated the EU's 844 separate web-pages in just 270 printed ones, showing all 448 articles of the new constitution (that of the USA contains only 26). It also adds supporting documents, invaluable analysis and a proper index."





The Sunday Telegraph 19 December 2004:

"Twice as costly, half as good"

"Two weeks back, I reported the startling fact that the first publicly available, printed version of the proposed EU Constitution was about to be published by a tiny business organisation based in the Cotswolds.

"Hundreds of my readers who ordered The European Constitution in Perspective from the British Management Data Foundation got 384 pages for their £27.50, including a definitive text of the Treaty, a wealth of meticulous analysis and an invaluable index.

"Stung by the charge that such an important document should only be available through private enterprise, the Foreign Office has rushed out its own 511-page version, much less user-friendly, without analysis or index. And costing nearly twice as much: £47.

"In my earlier report, I made a careless comparison with the American Constitution. The original US Constitution contained only seven articles, although 27 amendments bring the total to 34. This compares with the 448 articles in the Constitution proposed by the EU."





Eurofacts; Friday, 14 January 2005:

Eurofacts is the fortnightly subscription newsletter of the cross-party research organisation Global Britain

"The father and son team at the British Management Data Foundation (BMDF), with this new publication, has once again produced an immensely valuable and authoritative encyclopaedia of the development of the many EC/EU treaties. It comprises the full text of the Treaty signed in Rome on 29th October 2004, together with a comprehensive subject index, chapters explaining how the Constitution would come into effect if ratified, a section on British business concerns, summaries of its contents, a history of all EC/EU treaties since 1957, notes on the text, and a particularly lucid chapter titled “Principal Issues and Key Points”. Particularly useful are tables of equivalence, one tracing the numbers of the Articles from the numbering of the old treaties through Maastricht and Amsterdam to the Constitution, the other the changes in the numbering of articles in successive drafts of the Constitution itself.

"There are also chapters on EU Legislative Procedures and on which areas would change from unanimity to qualified majority voting, plus the texts of the Laeken Declaration of December 2001, (which set the Convention ball rolling), the report of Giscard d’Estaing, the president of the Convention, to the European Council of July 2003, and the contemporaneous pithy and astute “Alternative Report” of the minority of members of the Convention who were critical of its conclusions.

"The text of the Constitution was still being revised right up to the 29th October, when heads of state and government signed it in Rome. Nevertheless, BMDF brought out this huge, complex and beautifully printed and bound book in just three weeks. As with its previous publications in this series, the book will become the reference book, the absolute ‘gold standard’, for ministers, parliamentarians, civil servants, businessmen and all those who need to have at their hand an irreproachable source of EU law and regulation.

"The book is impeccably neutral on the question of whether the Constitution would be a good or a bad thing. It sets out fact after fact, with explanations where necessary. Tellingly, it is produced by private citizens in the private sector. How extraordinary, and what a commentary on the low standards we have come to expect from British governments, that ministers prefer BMDF publications to those of the Foreign Office and other “official” bodies funded by the taxpayer."





The European Journal The Journal of the European Foundation:
Volume 12 Number 4, April 2005

"As one would expect on the basis of Anthony Cowgill’s previous publications in this series on Nice, Amsterdam and Maastricht, this is a well-researched, well-written, comprehensive and objective reference work. It not only provides the complete text of and annexes to The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe for a mere £27.50 (as opposed to the £47 version published by the organisation formerly known as Her Majesty’s Stationery Office), it also contains salient additional papers: the Laeken Declaration; the Report from the Presidency of the Convention to the President of the European Council of 18 July 2003; the Alternative Report of the Convention (drawn up by David Heathcoat-Amory et al); the Rome Declaration of 18 July 2003; and speeches given at the signing of the Treaty.

"Furthermore, there is a good deal of high-quality analysis in the introductory text. The foreword opens with a statement that the Constitution entails fundamental change to the structure and nature of the Union and goes on to quote the Chairman of the Convention on the Future of Europe, which drafted the Constitution, Valery Giscard d’Estaing: “I see [the Union] as being a Union of European States closely co-ordinating their policies and administering certain common competences, along federal lines.” The choice of material in the foreword alerts the reader to the author’s fundamentally British Eurosceptic view of the Constitution, whilst the legal and constitutional analysis reflects the thinking of the European Foundation – but this is more a fundamental perspective than an angle which the authors pursue: as befits a work of reference, this is a text composed of fact, not spin.

"The note of the background is an excellent, concise history of the Constitution’s development and indeed the development of the European Treaties preceding it. The list of pertinent articles helpfully points out major innovations in The Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, whilst the short section on “British Business Concerns: Increased Regulatory Burden” contains a list of criticisms relevant to British business (and here the text does come close to a outright polemicism).

"The other sections of the text are technical in nature: EU legislative procedures under the Constitution are explained and changes from unanimity to qualified majority voting are set out. At the back are Tables of Equivalences, showing the genealogy of the Treaty articles, from previous European Treaties and through the various drafts of the Constitution. This is not as comprehensive an approach as the one taken in previous publications in this series, in which the development of each Treaty Article was set out across a double-page spread and, thus, the firming up of European competences and changes of nuance made between Treaties are lost. This is an inevitable consequence, however, of the growth of material under analysis: the virtue of this text is that it succeeds in bringing clarity to what would appear to anyone but an expert of Cowgill’s standing as a quite unmanageable quantity of material."





EU Referendum Blog: Monday, December 06, 2004

"And so to the Constitution"

"In what was a busy day yesterday – day jobs know no frontiers – there was scare time to complete the usual review of the Booker column and especially the lead story about how the EU constitution has come to be published in the Cotswolds

"It really is quite remarkable that, when Tony Blair and his fellow heads of government met in Rome on October 30 to sign the supposedly finished constitution, they cannot have been putting their names to the document itself. If it had have existed, we would have seen the fully finished version in print, by now – and we haven’t.

"For sure, the electronic version can be downloaded, in segments, from the EU commission website, but this does not have the look of a finished, publishable document. Only today will that be available, set out in full in a single document. And that is thanks to an independent publishing venture run by an 89-year-old former brigadier from a small office in the Cotswolds.

"The production is thanks to a remarkable feat of detailed research by the British Management Data Foundation, run by Brig Anthony Cowgill and his son Andrew, a 47-year-old tax expert.

"Producing versions of EU treaties has become something of a family tradition for this team, ever since, twelve years ago, Brig Cowgill was shocked to learn that Parliament was being asked to approve the Maastricht Treaty before the full text of what John Major had agreed to was made available for MPs to read in any form they could understand.

"The late Sir Keith Joseph circulated 1,500 copies of the BMDF's "consolidated" version of the treaty to politicians, showing the Maastricht amendments in context.

"In coming months, as the constitution moves to the top of the political agenda, with a referendum likely early in 2006, the BMDF's definitive version of the constitution's text, with a wealth of explanatory material, is certain to be widely cited.

"For politicians, the media and anyone concerned with the implications of the constitution for the future of Britain and Europe, it will become the single most authoritative, user-friendly version of a document at the centre of national debate.

"The BMDF has consolidated the EU's 844 separate web-pages in just 270 printed ones, showing all 448 articles of the constitution (that of the USA contains only 26). It also adds supporting documents, invaluable analysis and a proper index (copies of The European Constitution in Perspective can be ordered on 01452 812837 at £27.50)."



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Reviews of

'An Analysis of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe'



There have been a number of reviews and comments on 'An Analysis of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe', including the following:



The Sunday Telegraph, 5 October 2003:

"EU draft made clear for less"

"As battle commences in Rome on the constitution for Europe - the constitution that Tony Blair said in 2000 was wholly unnecessary, but which he now supports almost unreservedly - it is understandable that opinion polls are suggesting that the vast majority of the British people think that the constitution should be put to a referendum. Yet we have been living under such a constitution for years, by way of the succession of treaties setting up the European Union.

"The draft prepared by Valery Giscard d’Estaing and his constitutional convention may recognise more openly than before that the EU constitutes a wholly new form of government in our lives, and may in various respects propose a significant extension of its powers. But already, as this column weekly attests, the existing surrender of national power to the Community’s institutions has brought about a revolution in the way we are governed and in how our laws are made.

"Someone who has long recognised this is Brigadier Anthony Cowgill, of the British Management Data Foundation. He has for 11 years been publishing versions of our evolving European constitution, as represented by successive treaties. These are used by businessmen, lawyers, MPs and even ministers, as they are by far the most useful, comprehensive versions available.

"Anthony Cowgill’s project began when a Foreign Office minister in John Major’s government, Tristan Garel-Jones, ruled that it would be “presumptuous” for the Government to publish a full version of the Maastricht treaty until after it had been ratified. Only thanks to Anthony Cowgill were MPs able properly to read the treaty before it was debated.

"In another tour de force, Anthony Cowgill has published a version of the Giscard d’Estaing draft constitution (with its 465 articles, compared with only 33 in the US constitution), with full analysis and relevant papers. This is available for £15, compared with the £36 the Government charges for the bare text of the draft and its White Paper, which is little more than a glossy propaganda brochure. For anyone wanting to follow the battles over the constitution in the months ahead, Anthony Cowgill’s version and analysis will be an invaluable guide."



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eurofacts, 24 October 2003:

"The Cowgills as Indispensable as Ever"

"The less the voters know about the EU, the better: that’s the principle which has guided successive British governments, Labour and Conservative. Thus it is that a private-sector organisation, the British Management Data Foundation, with no public funding whatsoever, has published the definitive explanatory texts on the Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice. The task is Herculean; but they have become the standard reference works for ministers, parliamentarians, civil servants, central bankers, lawyers and others professionally involved with the EU, in preference to the “official” briefs put out by foreign ministries and by Brussels; they are also read assiduously in Washington.

"BMDF’s new publication contains the entire text of Giscard’s draft Constitution as it was on 4th October 2003, the opening day of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) in Rome. Every single article in the text (150 closely-printed pages in the BMDF format – this, remember, a text the government claims is “merely a tidying-up exercise”) has been annotated by BMDF, either as “new” or with references to the relevant sections of previous treaties. To non-specialists, the text would be more or less incomprehensible were it not for the exemplary BMDF-generated “Table of Equivalences” from which the provenance of articles in the draft Constitution can be traced back to previous treaties and other EC/EU acts, declarations and protocols. A ten-page subject index, also BMDF-generated, gives references to the Part/Article number and page number in the text as well. BMDF has also compiled a quite vital set of tables showing the main areas where it is proposed that voting be by qualified majority instead of the present unanimity.

"In addition to the text of the draft Constitution, BMDF includes additional relevant papers including the Laeken Declaration of 15th December 2001, the “terms of reference” which set in train the work of the Convention. A majority of members of the 105-strong Convention conveniently ignored any that did not lead to the conclusion that there was no alternative to a Constitution. Nevertheless, eight members of the Convention, including David Heathcoat-Amory MP, had the courage to reject the majority report, and publish their own lucid and succinct (only 3 pages!) Alternative Report, for “The Europe of Democracies”, which is also reproduced in its entirety. Also included, for what they are worth, are excerpts from the British Government’s White Paper defending its intention to sign up to the Giscard draft.

"For many readers, the most useful part of this book will be BMDF’s own explanations of what the Constitution is about, printed on green paper to distinguish them from the official texts. These cover the background to the process, the structure of the draft treaty, key issues, pertinent articles, a section on British business concerns, the tables on changes from unanimity to QMV referred to above, and legislative procedures. Altogether, this book is a masterpiece of clarity.

"The only person in the whole world who pretends that the Constitution isn’t of fundamental importance is Mr Blair. It is widely accepted on the Continent that the EU is in profound crisis. Some see the Constitution, implausibly, as the cure for that crisis. Others see the Constitution as the terminal convulsion of the doomed process of creating “a country called Europe”. The Cowgills have ensured that, whatever comes out of the IGC, no one will be able to claim afterwards: “we didn’t know”. Clemenceau observed that war is too important to be left to the generals. Another French saying is “let’s see with what sauce we’re going to be eaten”. Invest in this publication and find out."




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Reviews of

' The Treaty of Nice in Perspective'




There have been a number of reviews and comments on 'The Treaty of Nice in Perspective', including the following:



The Sunday Telegraph, 29 July 2001:

"Fruit of research: read the truth behind the Treaty"

"Anyone wondering why discussion of the European Union in this country seems so unreal might consider the way that Parliament is ratifying the latest handover of powers to the European Union in the Nice Treaty.

"Although this process still has to be completed when Parliament returns in the autumn from its 85-day holiday, the Treaty was approved by MPs in principle earlier this month, after a desultory second-reading debate which seemed mostly taken up by seven new arrivals making their maiden speeches.

"Yet at the time of this second reading, not a single MP could have read the Nice Treaty in context, because it consists only of a long list of disjointed amendments to former treaties.

"They can now do this thanks only to the tireless work of Anthony Cowgill's British Management Data Foundation, which has just published its admirable two-volume 'The Treaty of Nice in Perspective', including the "Consolidated Treaty on European Union".

"To anyone wishing to study the nearest thing Britain now has to a written constitution, these two superbly assembled volumes are invaluable, not least their detailed analysis showing how each successive treaty has progressively extended the European Union's powers.

"Anthony Cowgill first published a "consolidated " treaty back in 1992 when he discovered the Major government was happy to allow MPs to ratify the Maastricht Treaty without allowing them to see its contents in context. In the immortal words of Tristan Garel-Jones, [the then Europe minister] it would have been "improper" for the Government to publish the treaty in toto until it had been ratified: in other words, MPs should not be allowed to understand what they were voting for until they had agreed to it.

"Fortunately, Anthony Cowgill and his son Andrew have once again met the "democratic deficit", by allowing the rest of us to know what we have been let in for."



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The European Information Service

Issue 224, page 58

November 2001

"The European Union Treaties are now so complex, with so many layers of amendment upon amendment, that only the most expert of experts can find their way around them. But the publishers of these two volumes have struck a blow for transparency. They have managed to give us the latest updated text, highlighting the many amendments agreed in the Treaty of Nice. This treaty is to say the least somewhat messy, so it is of huge assistance to have its provisions clearly integrated into the current Treaties.

"This two-volume set is a companion to the earlier Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective, an EU “bible” for the last few years, and which remains essential until Nice is ratified. In the meantime, the new set lets you see, almost at a glance, where and how the Nice provisions fit in.

"Volume One is called 'Analysis'. Its main contents involve a tabular run through the Treaties, with the left-hand column summarising the original Treaty of Rome provisions on a subject, and other columns picking up changes from the Single European Act, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice respectively. Thus you can see how a subject matter has developed over the years, and over the Treaties.

"Volume Two sets out the text of the two main Treaties, i.e. the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, with the Nice amendments in bold. All earlier amendments are integrated in the text. The volume includes a number of other key documents.

"This publication is strongly recommended to anyone who needs to ensure that they have accurate references to, or quotes from, the European Treaties."



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Lord Willoughby de Broke

House of Lords debate on the European Communities (Amendment) Bill

26 November 2001

Hansard, Column 79

"We have heard time and again how incomprehensible and obscure this treaty is. In that context, I was interested to see that even the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, was using not an official text - I do not believe that there is an official integrated text on the Treaty - but the very useful volume [Volume Two] produced by the British Management Data Foundation.

"Without that, I do not believe we should have been able to have a Committee stage or a sensible debate about the Treaty. Therefore, I believe that those responsible for that volume are due a vote of thanks from this House.

"There are two volumes, but I gather that the first was deemed to be too dangerous for general circulation because it analysed the Treaty.

"If Ministers and those inside Westminster must rely on an independent body to produce a comprehensible version of the Treaty of Nice, I believe that further clarification should be given so that people outside Westminster can understand it."



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Agence Europe

Bulletin Quotidien Europe 8148; 11-12/2/2002

European Library: N° 485

"In the tradition of its previous publications on the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties, the British Management Data Foundation provides a detailed and comparative analysis, as well as a comprehensive study of the new Treaty of Nice.

"One of the strengths in this book is the detailed synopses it provides of the themes it takes up in its articles on the Treaty of Rome, the Single Act, the Maastricht Treaty, Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice, in five columns.

"The general index and other documents such as the Nice European Social Agenda, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Parliament Resolution on Nice help to complete this very useful book.

"These two volumes constitute a useful reference guide for all those who work in Community legal affairs and those who wish to trace the evolution of primary Community law and the European institutions since the Treaty of Rome up to the Treaty of Nice, in a way that is both easy and efficient."




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Reviews of

'The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective'



There have been a number of reviews and comments on 'The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective', including the following:



'Agence Europe', the Brussels Press Agency, on 21 July 1998:

'This invaluable tool...gives an overview of the entire evolution of European integration'.

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The Sunday Telegraph, 25 January 1998, discussed the book in a full page article, declaring:

"The BMDF's version is far more than just a dry reprinting of the EU Treaty. What makes it unique is that its layout shows exactly how the EU has built up its powers over the decades, as each of the four successive treaties, from Rome to Amsterdam, has extended Brussels' range of "competences" to legislate over more areas of life."

"[It is] an indispensable work of reference...invaluable not least since it contains much more information than the official EC version at little more than half the price".


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BBC Radio 4, 'The Afternoon Shift', 16 February 1998: The book was the subject of a lengthy discussion and a generous tribute by Laurie Taylor, including:

"The British Management Data Foundation has compiled a book which presents the Amsterdam Treaty in an easily understandable and very orderly manner."


* * * * *

Fergus Randolph, Brick Court Chambers London and Brussels,
in 'Commercial Lawyer' (April 1998):

"'The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective' is a materpiece of clarity and simplicity.

"One of the great advantages of 'The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective' is that it highlights all the changes in bold.

"Another major plus is its introduction. This, in a series of short, clearly written sections, sets out the background to the Community's "constitution" and the key issues addressed by the Amsterdam Treaty. It also provides an overview of Economic and Monetary Union and an analysis of the development of Community powers, from the original Treaty of Rome to the Amsterdam Treaty.

"I strongly recommend this book, both as an introduction to the European process and as an everyday practitioner's tool."


* * * * *

Extract from Hansard, House of Lords European Communities (Amendment) Bill, 24 March 1998 :

Lord Pearson of Rannoch:

"[There is] an excellent publication called: The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective. It is from the British Management Data Foundation.

"It is an extremely useful version [of the Treaty] and it has the great advantage of having the original Treaty of Rome and the Single European Act amalgamated into one column. Then across the page, there is the Maastricht Treaty in the next column and in the final column the amendments made at Amsterdam which we are now considering.

"In my view, it is the only publication in which one can follow the relentless march of European integration. I commend it to the Committee."




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Reviews of

'The Maastricht Treaty in Perspective'


The Sunday Telegraph; Sunday 24 May 1992

‘Sheep to the Slaughter’

Christopher Booker

"I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that on Thursday night 336 members of the House of Commons voted in support of a document which very few of them had actually read. After all, Mr Hurd [the Foreign Secretary] admits that when he signed the Maastricht Treaty on 7 February, he himself hadn’t read it either – certainly not all of it.

"But does it not say something about the increasingly Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this great European Union we are all so keen to be part of that, by agreement between the member governments, the people of Europe are not officially to be allowed to read a full version of the Treaty until after all the governments have ratified it?

"All our own Government has done, very belatedly, is to publish a hotch-potch of the amendments agreed at Maastricht, so that it is almost impossible to make sense of how the amendments relate to the documents – the Rome Treaty and the Single European Act – they are amending.

"Recently my friend Brigadier Cowgill, who runs the British Management Data Foundation, representing 25 leading companies, from ICI to British Aerospace, thought it was high time his members were able to see this document which will have such profound implications for their business operations. He therefore put together from various sources a complete version of the two treaties, showing the Maastricht amendments in context.

"Copies of Cowgill’s compleat Maastricht [correctly ‘The Maastricht Treaty in Perspective – Consolidated Treaty on European Union’] have not only been eagerly welcomed by the Lords and Commons libraries; they are now even being sold by the Stationery office (although a cheaper version is available from the Centre for Policy Studies, available only to CPS members).

"Is it not extraordinary that the only way our legislators can read the Maastricht Treaty is through a piece of private enterprise like this? To return to where I started, is it not even more extraordinary that most of them are quite happy to vote enthusiastically for it without bothering to read it all? Or is that loud noise from the Palace of Westminster simply the sound of baa-ing?"





* * * * *



Sunday Telegraph; 31 May 1992

Christopher Booker



"Last week, I remarked on the extraordinary determination of the Government not to allow the publication of a full text of the Treaty signed at Maastricht until after it had been ratified.

"I then found myself reading about the signing of another great constitutional landmark in our island story, the Magna Carta. What struck me was the fact that, no sooner was the ink dry on the Great Chart at Runnymede, then “hundreds of clerks” were brought in to engross copies of it, for distribution, as soon as possible to every town in the kingdom.

"The moral of the tale seems to be that when you want to add to peoples’ liberties, you take care to let them know about it as soon as possible. When you want to take them away, you do everything you can to keep it quiet. Or, as Mr Tristan Garel-Jones of eth Foreign Office put it to the Commons, you say it would be “presumptuous” of the Government to publish the Treaty “before it had been approved by the House”. There are still those who think it might have been more in keeping with Mr Waldegrave’s [a minister of the Conservative government] exciting new drive for open government to let the House read the Treaty before voting on it, rather than the other way around.

"Incidentally, thanks to a typographical confusion, the private enterprise version of the Treaty I referred to last week was described as Cowgill’s Compleat Maastricht. This was just a very small joke – but apparently not a few people have been trying to order it under this title from HMSO and the Centre for Policy Studies. It is in fact called The Consolidated Treaty on European Union, published by the British Management Data Foundation."



* * * * *




Edward Mortimer, Financial Times - 8 July 1992

"I really do find the Treaty unreadable and incomprehensible though I am grateful to the British Management Data Foundation for supplying a relatively comprehensible edition of it, giving a consolidated text of the Treaty of Rome as Maastricht proposes to amend it."



* * * * *


Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph - 12 July 1992

'At last : The truth about the Maastricht Treaty.'



* * * * *


Extract from Hansard on the debate in the House of Lords 22 June 1993:

Lord Bruce of Donington moving an amendment to Part One of the Treaty said:

"[Part One] can be found on page 2 of the very excellent 'Maastricht Treaty in Perspective' document issued by the British Management Data Foundation. It facilitates easier examination of the effects [of the Treaty].

"I am sure that Members of the Committee will agree that we are somewhat indebted to the Foundation for doing something which...the Government ought to have done to enable the public better to understand what is involved. Indeed, it might even have assisted certain members of the Government who subsequently admitted that they had not read the Treaty."




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