EU leaders meeting in Lisbon have just ended six years of debate on the workings of the EU institutions. The new reform treaty will help the EU meet the challenges of the 21st century, including globalisation and climate change.
Since 23 July, legal experts in the EU countries have been working flat out to draft the new treaty, in line with a mandate given in June. In spite of some differences, leaders of all 27 countries have finally agreed a text which will hugely simplify the internal workings of the Union.
There will be many benefits: the new treaty will ensure European citizens have their say in European affairs and see their fundamental rights set out in a charter. The EU will be better equipped to meet expectations in the fields of energy, sustainable development, cross-border crime and immigration. It will also be able to speak with one voice on the international scene.
The reform treaty should be signed in December and ratified before the next EU Parliament elections in June 2009.
José Manuel Barroso and José Sócrates announce the adoption of the reform treaty (audio)
Reform treaty site