Brussels, 13th of December 2007
Marking an important step in European integration, the 27 Member States have today signed the Treaty of Lisbon. This marks a new phase in providing the Union with a new treaty to respond to the challenges of the 21st century. The Commission believes that the new treaty provides significant new benefits for citizens and will settle the institutional debate for the foreseeable future. In line with the Barroso Commission's twin track approach this will allow for a greater emphasis on the issues of concern to citizens such as jobs and growth, energy and climate change and migration. The Commission calls on Member States to ratify the treaty in good time for its entry into force on 1 January 2009. The Commission has today launched a website on the Treaty that explains in an easy to read way the policy innovations and institutional reforms contained in the new Treaty
President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso said, "This treaty marks a watershed in the history of European integration. The Treaty of Lisbon puts citizens at the centre of the European project. After six long years of negotiation we can put institutional issues aside and concentrate all our energy on delivering policy achievements for our citizens. I call on the Member States to honour their commitments and seek to ratify the treaty in good time for its entry into force on 1 January 2009".
"This new Treaty is good for European citizens", said Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström, responsible for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy. It will enhance efficiency and give the Union a single voice in external relations. People will have a greater say in European policies through the reinforced powers of their directly elected representatives in the European Parliament and the enhanced role of National parliaments. The new "Citizens' initiative" will allow a million citizens to ask the Commission to present a proposal. More democracy is fundamental for a Union based on citizens' consent and will help to restore confidence and trust in the European integration process".
The Treaty of Lisbon amends the current EU and EC treaties, without replacing them. It will provide the Union with the legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and to respond to citizens' demands.
The Treaty of Lisbon will bring 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, clime change, cross-border crime and immigration. It will also be able to speak with one voice on the international scene.
Among key planned improvements are:
a more democratic and open and accountable Union – both citizens and national parliaments will see decisions taken first hand as lawmaking discussions open up to public scrutiny. Europeans will be given the opportunity to influence proposed EU laws.
a more effective Union – through effective and streamlined institutions. Including swifter, more consistent decision-making on law and order issues, giving the EU greater ability to combat crime, terrorism and human trafficking.
more rights for Europeans – the EU's values and goals will be set down more clearly than ever before. And the charter of fundamental rights will be given the same legal status as the EU treaties themselves.
a more prominent global actor – the EU will seek more coherence between the different strands of its external policy, such as diplomacy, security, trade and humanitarian aid. And the bloc will be given a single legal personality to strengthen its negotiating power.
These improvements give the Union the capacity to deliver change, to make Europeans more secure and prosperous and to open up their opportunities to shape globalisation.
The Treaty of Lisbon, drawn up by the 2007 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), was approved at the informal European Council on 18-19 October and will be signed by the Member States on 13 December 2007. The signature of the Treaty will be followed by the ratification process in all 27 countries. It is hoped that the new Treaty will come into force on 1 January 2009.
he new website provides user friendly and easy-to-read information in all 23
official EU languages. On its pages, readers can discover how the new Treaty
will enable the EU to tackle the challenges of today's world and to promote more
efficiency, democracy and transparency within its institutions. Answers to the
most frequently asked questions are also available, accompanied by fact sheets
explaining theme-by-theme the main changes brought about by the Treaty.