Welcome to the Lisbon Era

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, after much hemming and hawing, signed the Treaty of Lisbon this afternoon. It is expected to enter into force on 1 December 2009. This success is undoubtedly the highlight of the Swedish Presidency, which made concluding ratification a top priority.

Prominent changes include more qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers, increased involvement of the European Parliament in the legislative process through extended codecision with the Council of Ministers, eliminating the pillar system and the creation of a President of the European Council with a term of two and half years and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs to present a united position on EU policies. The Treaty of Lisbon will also make the Union’s human rights charter, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding.

Now that that’s done, is everyone ready for the next round of enlargement?

8 thoughts on “Welcome to the Lisbon Era

  1. I doubt that there will be a round of enlargement soon. The loom of the economic crisis is still visible and enlargement is not necessarily what people want to hear in such times. Maybe in two years we will begin to hear the e-word again.

  2. Bad news.

    The more European integration, the bigger probability of a serious large-scale policy error. Even today the EU is too big to work properly. After Lisbon, it will become monster.

  3. Just so, Pavel.

    This mania for integration and centralisation will end in tears.

    But we’re in the post-democratic age, now. We should celebrate the fact that elites are making up our minds for us.

  4. The Lisbon Era indeed. Just how different this is from the, er, Nice (?) era remains to be seen. See here http://tinyurl.com/yhopcne for the first campaign – the Right2Bet Campaign – hoping to be the first to utilise Lisbon’s “Citizens Initiative” provision. I’m not sure how far grassroots campaigns like Right2Bet will be able to make a huge difference in the new Europe, but it’s an interesting thought. European citizens forcing the Commission to implement free and fair trade and restore personal freedoms? Mmm, yes please!

  5. I agree with Pavel, but for a slightly different reason. While European nation states had their own national foreign and economic polices, each made their own decisions.

    Majority voting opens the door to some very risky horse-trading. I will support your adventurism in the Balkans if you will support more subsidies for my inefficient farming sector.

    Those who thin that EU-wide decision-making is a good thing should go back and read the history of the EU’s failures in the Balkans, and what kind of trading of favours led to it.

  6. I think for most europeans, the EU is about the euro and Schengan.
    I agree with above, the economy will dictate stagnation for some time, it’s so logistically difficult on so many levels.

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