Explaining the Treaty of Lisbon
The following memo gives an overview of the main innovations in the Treaty of Lisbon that enters into force on 1 December 2009. It is not exhaustive, and should not be seen as a legal analysis. It is meant only as a guide for journalists.
Why does Europe need the Lisbon Treaty?
The European Union (EU) of 27 members has been operating with rules designed for an EU of 15 Member States. To realise its full potential, the European Union needs to modernise and reform.
At the same time, there is increasing support for the EU to work together on issues that affect us all, such as climate change, energy security and international terrorism. As the EU has grown and its responsibilities have changed, it makes sense to adapt the framework it operates in so that the EU has the means to tackle today’s challenges and tomorrow’s.
In particular, the Lisbon Treaty will lead to greater efficiency in the decision making process, increased democratic accountability by associating the European Parliament and national parliaments and increased coherence externally. All of these improvements will equip the EU better to defend the interests of its citizens on a day-to-day basis.
10 examples of benefits for European citizens
-. A right for citizens to make a request to the Commission for it to propose a new initiative (« European citizens initiative »)
-. Better protection for citizens through the new status given to the Charter of fundamental rights
-. Diplomatic and consular protection for all EU citizens when travelling and living abroad
-. Mutual assistance against natural or man-made catastrophes inside the Union, such as flooding and forest fires
-. New possibilities to deal with cross border effects of energy policy, civil protection and combating serious cross border threats to health
-. Common action on dealing with criminal gangs who smuggle people across frontiers
-. Common rules to avoid asylum shopping where multiple applications are made to different member countries
-. Tackling terrorism through the freezing of assets, while full judicial review is guaranteed by the European Court of Justice
-. More democratic approach to EU decision-making (strengthened role of European Parliament and national Parliaments)
-. An ability to provide urgent financial aid to third countries
For more information:
The European Commission’s Guide to the Lisbon treaty:
European Commission website on the Lisbon Treaty:
A copy of the Treaty of Lisbon can be found at:
Key innovations in the Lisbon Treaty : This overview is structured in three parts:
-. key internal policy changes
-. key external policy changes
-. institutional and legal changes Texte intégral du MEMO (EN)