On December 13, 2007, in the Jeronimo monastery in Lisbon, Portugal the Heads of State or Government of the 27 EU Member States signed the EU Reform Treaty or Treaty of Lisbon, as it is now called. In taking the European project forward, the Treaty of Lisbon replaces the EU Constitution, which was rejected by voters in a handful of key EU countries. The Treaty alters the legal framework of the Union through a series of amendments to the Treaty on European Union and the EC Treaty. Both of them will remain at the legal foundation of the Union, although the name of the EC Treaty will be changed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Treaty of Lisbon will provide for more democratic and transparent Europe with an increased role for the European Parliament and national parliaments, possibility for one million citizens from a number of Member States to call on the Commission to bring forward new policy proposals and clearer delimitation between the competences of the Member States and the Union. The Treaty will make Europe more efficient with simplified working methods and clearer, fairer, and more transparent voting rules, streamlined and modern institutions, full-time President of the European Council and an improved ability to act in areas of major priority for today's Union and its citizens, such as areas of freedom, security and justice, energy policy, public health, civil protection and climate change. By promoting the Union's values, providing for legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights, new solidarity mechanisms and ensuring better protection of European citizens, the Treaty will ensure a Europe of rights and values, freedom, solidarity and security. Finally, with new High Representative for the Union in Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European External Action Service Europes voice will be clearer in relations with its partners across the globe.
The Treaty of Lisbon retains most of the content of the rejected EU Constitution. According to Valéry Giscard dEstaing, the former President of the Convention on the Future of Europe and the father of the EU Constitution, by agreeing on the Treaty, the European Council has agreed only cosmetic changes to the rejected EU Constitution to avoid the risk of further referendums on ratification. Some commentators have not hesitated to express their opinion on the similarity between the EU Constitution and the Treaty by calling the latter a déjà vu!
In order for the Treaty to come into force, it will have to be ratified by all the 27 EU Member States in accordance with their constitutional requirements. Several Member States, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Romania and France, have already ratified the Treaty. Due to the fact that it is very difficult for 27 Member States to agree upon the changes in the legal framework of the Union, the experts predict that the Treaty, if it will enter into force, will last for a lengthy period of time.
For further information please contact Pāvels Tjuševs at firstname.lastname@example.org