Treaties of the EU are binding agreements which set out and establish its constitutional basis, andevery action taken by the European Unionis based on the treaties. The European Unionhas many treaties as follows: Treaty of Paris(1951), treaty of Rome(1957), Merger Treaty(1965), Schengen Agreement (1985), Single European Act(1986),Maastricht Treaty(1992), Treaty of Amsterdam(1997) and lastly the Treaty of Lisbon (2007.
“Improvements of the Lisbontreaty aim to enhance the clarity of European Union’s external activities andmoreover at developing its asset base by subsequentlyextending the affluence of the European diplomatic relations and strengtheningthe part of the European Union as a global actor” (Koehler 2010). “Thishas given more a greater resilience as it has improved investment, which is aninstrument to strengthen the compromise inside the European sector where ”theLisbon treaty shows up ”to have maintained the position of National Executivesin EU. By then, it has made the EU political structure more definitive andexpanded the use of national officials inside the EU region”(W. Sweden andN. Bollinger). This paper looks at what The Lisbon Treaty is, and itsobjectives. It will also examine the effects of the Treaty (Lisbon) as the maintask of this research paper, and how it has made an impact to enhance thelegitimacy of the European Union, and of course the improvements within theframework of the EU.
Muchhas been said and written about the Treaty of Lisbon. The treaty simply linksall the existing treaties into a new one by streamlining them, like any treatythat a national government ratifies, it does not require a referendum. The European Union has been growingover the years and the addition of new member states has taken place. TheEuropean steel and coal community Treaty was signed in 1952 and came intoeffect on July 23rd, 1952. When the EU beganonly six countries namely (Germany, Italy,Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France were involved), and eventually more and more states joined reaching up to 28 withCroatia being the latest member to join. This addition has led to therevision of the existing treaties to accommodate the member states in which itwould benefit them all. The Lisbon treaty was created to helpthe European Union leaders respond quickly to global issues, to strengthen theEU to serve its citizens better.
All the treaties that were created except theEuropean Coal and Steel treaty are still in force dating back to 1958. TheLisbon treaty is the most recent treaty signed by the European Union states toamend the Maastricht treaty and treaty of Rome, it is a new step towardsEuropean integration. Signed in December 2007, at Lisbon Portugal, and enteredinto force on December 1, 2009, after being ratified by all memberstates. It was initially created to further a deeper integration procedure forthe European Union. However, the procedures and transactions had a touch of setback at, to begin with, there were a few restrictions by a few nations likeIreland who dismissed the Constitution. The original plan was to establish aconstitution for The European Union.
Thiswould have been a brand-new document which incorporated all the rules andregulations into one. However, this wasn’t successful due to the French andDutch voting no in their referendums, and the only options left were – tocontinue with the piece metal approachwhere the rules and regulations are scattered across numerous treaties and acts or a new treaty to replace the existingones. Which led to creating the treaty of Lisbon.
The Constitutiondrew on the existing treaties, one could read the constitution without having to refer back to the old treaties. Itis also a further amendment to theexisting ones, one has to continuouslyrefer back to the old ones to understand what has been replaced. The treaty wasexecuted to reinforce and increment the effectiveness of the EU’s outsidestrategy, this is because in the past settlements there wasn’t a great deal ofattention given into the EU’s remote approach destinations, and because of thedistinctions of the institutional structures of the EU, it constituted an issueto the accomplishment of the EU’s outside arrangement as an institutionalperforming actor. The Lisbon treaty has streamlined the EU’s institutionalstructure and also corrected the structures of the EU’s remote approach, itmade another post for the leader of the European Council, and additionally convergingthe external relations of the commission and the high representativeof the foreign affairs council. TheLisbon treaty introduced the following:1.
Cominginto effect the Lisbon treaty created the president of the council with a two-and-a-half-yearterm, de facto replacing the rotating presidency (the current one rotates everysix months). “The Common Security and Defense Policy has been refined throughthe Lisbon Treaty. From one viewpoint, the present line of emergencyadministration through the Petersburg missions proceed,and then again, development is made in two routes: participation as much as ittakes, through the formation of the European Defense Agency and through thefoundation of political defense instruments of the Union” (Honorius circa, pp. 391).2.
Italso changed the single foreign affairspost created by merging the external relations commissioner with the common foreign and security policy high representative. 3. Thecharter of the fundamental rights became legally binding.
“The consolidation offundamental rights security system is featured additionally by the likelihoodof the Union’s increase to the European Convention on Human Rights, anessential record of the Council of Europe, which involves the EU’sacknowledgment of an extraneous control system in the field of the fundamentalrights” (Honorius circa, pp. 391)4. Thethree pillars merged to one legal personthereby increasing the EU’s competence tosign treaties. 5. TheEuropean Council also became officially separated from the council of ministers. It strengthenedthe powers of the parliament with the decisionin numerous policy areas.
More importantly,a new method of voting introduced is the qualified majority voting, “Under the rules laid out in the NiceTreaty member states had fixed weights for their size. A qualified majoritymeant having 255 of the 345 of the weighted votes, representing at least 14-memberstates and having 62 percent of the EUpopulation. In the new system, a majoritymeans having 65 percent of the weightedvotes (by actual population) and fifteen-member states” (Amy Verdun 2012, pp. 4)Underthe standards laid out in the Nice Treaty,states had agreed to weights they can deal with. A qualified majority votinginferred having 255 of the 345 of the weighted votes, representing no less than14-part states and having 62 percent of the EU populace. In the new framework,a majority implies having 65 percent of the weighted votes (by real populace)and fifteen-part states” (Amy Verdun 2012, pp. 4)TheLisbon treaty introduced three primary changes to EU’s organizations.
The High Representativeof the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Lisbon arrangementhas fortified the position of the new high representative of the union forforeign and security policy, who is additionally one of the Vice Presidents ofthe European committee, the high representative, and furthermore the productionof a security foreign policy. As in the Constitution, the position of HighRepresentative accompanies a few ambiguities. The High representative has ademocratic role, he is selected by the European Council through the qualifiedmajority voting, with the endorsement of the leader of the European Commission.The High representative additionally represents the European Council.
He actsaccording to the council mandate and directs the commission and council’sexternal actions. “The Lisbon Treaty formally enables the High Representativeto speak to the Union in CSDP. Despite the fact that the pre-Lisbon HighRepresentative practically represented the Union,this power was not formally presented to him. Moreover, the High Representativeas the executive of the Foreign Affairs Council succeeds the earlier pivotingadministration on CSDP matters and obtainsthe latter’s obligations” (Matthaios Charalampous pp. 11).Thetreaty has presented key developments for a more proficient foreign policy, ithas made the parliament a democratic institution of the EU which has expandedthe parliament’s part in the viewpoints concerning the CFSP. The parliamentrepresents the citizens and speaks to the EU residents and ensures that issuesconcerning remote approaches are notified to the citizens.
The EuropeanParliament is directly chosen by EU nationals and the parliament utilizes thisenergy to building up the foreign policy of the union. “The Lisbon Treaty hasyielded more important powers to the national parliaments, giving them asection in managing the work by the Commission, and moreover giving them theYellow and Orange Card structures, empowering them to fundamentally influencethe upcoming EU enactment. This goes for bringing the organization of the EUnearer to the general population, as national parliaments might be, bydefinition, nearer to their subjects than the Brussels based establishments.There is also more media focused on national parliaments, and open eagernessfor their work tends to make it faster. They moreover have a more noticeableability to get evaluations from people who invest nationally, which is basic inmaking system and making establishments, and could some way or another limitenterprise” (Ainsley gilbert, 2011)Theparliament has a part in the budget-making of the CFSP, the Lisbon treaty has expandedits powers in regards to foreign, security and defense strategies, the EuropeanParliament has the privilege to be informed on basic, common and securityarrangements, the high representative is additionally charged withincorporating the parliament in decision making. The EU’s external foreignpolicy has had accomplishments with respect to the piracy in Somalia and thesanctions put on Iran in regards to its nuclear energy program, however, it hashad no accomplishment so far in regards to the Ukraine-Russian emergency.
Thishas demonstrated that the EU member states still can’t set their interestsaside to accomplish a shared objective. Lisbon treaty has been beneficial to theEuropean parliament in changing the decision-making process from the ordinary-legislativeprocedure, to co-decision with the council on budgetary matters. Thisco-decision reflects both the citizens and states and fundamental human rights,it has gained a lot of powers and has more authority over the democraticcontrol of the EU. With 751 members in the parliament, all from the 28-member states,the European Parliament also has a say onwho joins the European Union membership.
Furthermore,”The Lisbon treaty not only gave the Parliament the same law-making powers asthe Council but also granted it the cloutto set Europe’s political direction. As indicated by the treaty’s transformations,the Parliament chooses the leader of the Commission, the official body of theEU, and this choice must mirror the consequences of the European decisions and,in this manner, the voters’ decision” (Europa). It also was able to introduce the European citizens’ initiative which is basicallywhere the citizens can have a say in the decision-making process of theparliament considering that the members were elected by universal suffrage.
This allows for transparency in what goes on in the EU, for example, interest groups can lobby around theparliament with this transparency and sometimes influence the parliament to acton behalf of what they support or favors them, or for the interest of thesociety. The treaty allows it to have powers in 45 policy areas, “The mostimportant fields of expansion are Freedom, Security and Justice, thecoordination of social security for transient laborers, auxiliary assets,culture, European organizations, and amendments to the Statute of the Court ofJustice, among others” (Juan Mayoral, (2011) pp. 2) Thetreaty has changed the structure of the European council deeming it as a properinstitution now, which shares the co-legislative powers with the European Parliament, and must consult the parliamentbefore final decisions are made. Whereas the European Council represents member states, so all in all during the decisionmaking both sides and interests are represented.
The council has ministers fromeach of the 28-member states, with rotating presidency. The Europa websitestates that “The Lisbon Treaty formally recognizes the European Council as anEU institution, responsible for providing the Union with the ‘impetus necessaryfor its development’ and for defining its ‘general political directions andpriorities’. The European Council has no legislative functions.A long-term presidency replaces the previous system of six-month rotation.The President is elected by a qualified majority of the European Council for arenewable term of 30 months. This should improve the continuity andcoherence of the European Council’s work. The President also represents theUnion externally, without prejudice to the duties of the High Representative ofthe Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy” (europarl.europa.
eu).What other changes will the treaty bring? Regardingexclusive competences of the EU “TheLisbon Treaty for the first time clarifies the powers of the Union. It distinguishesthree types of competencies: exclusivecompetence, where the Union alone can legislate, and the Member States only implement a shared competence,where they can legislate and adopt legally binding measures if the Union hasnot done so, and supporting competence, where the EU adopts measures to supportor complement Member States’ policies. Union competences can now be handed backto the Member States in the course of a treaty revision” (Europa).
In the Lisbon treaty, the distributionof competences in various policy reaps between member states and the union isstated in the following categories: 1.The customs union2.The establishment of competitionrules necessary for the functioning of the internal market 3.Monetary policy for those using theeuro As Jirikrcek states” The post-2007 financialcrisis further revealed the serious weaknesses within European economic policycoordination”, the financial crisis caused a doubt in the maintenance andco-operation of the European Union states, for one the eurozone debt crisiswas really terrible for economy, where some countries defaulted on their debtand the achievement of a governmentalsupremacy has always laid at the heart of EuropeanUnion.
“Themovements to the new decision-making process empowers the union to be morecapable and dynamic and putting it on amore grounded balance for overseeing improvement and change, before the comingLisbon Treaty. It remains to an extraordinary degree a complex relationship, witha mind-blowing number of fundamental strategiesand systems compelling its powers to act. The Eurozonecrisis includes the EU’s absence of the abilityto respond through its associations on troublesome areas, not entirely beingattributable to the time it would take to respond, and for the most part inlight of the absence of the ability totake debatable decisions in a structure so stacked with a balancedadministration. This is an authentic peril to the EU’s future, and a moregrounded settlement or constitution will be relied upon to give the EU a futurewhich isn’t as complicated and problematic as it remains after Lisbon”(Ainsleygilbert, 2011).
The Lisbon treaty has significantly brought majorchanges to the European Union, in the decision-makingprocess, the powers of the institutions, it has reformed and deepened theEuropean integration and made the European Unionmore democratic. It is one of the most important treaties signed by the EU as it has essentially developed and improvedthe stature of the European integrationand granting the EU a fully-fledged legalpersonality as an international performing actor, in all aspects regardingpolitical, cultural, social, and economic matters. As the treaty has sought toreform the institutions of the European Unionin general. The treaty of Lisbon has been considered as the constitution since it lays the rules, regulations, and principles for howdecision making to be carried out. Also “TheTreaty of Lisbon provides more clarity on how the EU can manage the negotiation on internationaltreaties.
The process should be led by the European Commission or the high representative –not the member state of therotating presidency. the European Parliamentis also more engaged in the process, it could exert pressure on other EU institutionsto allow for a greater centralization of three unions representation innegotiating international agreements” (FinnLarsen pp. 279)however, there is still a challenge that theunion faces which is a democratic deficit, because unlike national states the European Unioncannot be expected to be as democratic as the EU.So, there is still a large step it needsto take before achieving that status “a democratic union”. As stated by skach Cindy (2005) “TheEuropean Union is by no means the only organizationwith a democratic deficit; national, regional and local organizations are also suffering this problem.
However, a lack ofcommon European identity between member states’ citizens compounds this probleminto one which could, at some point, erupt into something which leads toquestions about its future. A new treaty is needed to reform the democraticfunctioning of Europe in order to create ‘measurable outputs’, rather than justcontinue to tinker with an existing framework, which has proved itself weak. The powers the Lisbon treatydelegated to the European Parliament, however,have increased the democracy of the EuropeanUnion with regards to the European citizens’ initiative and lobbying also.”What we can say is that post-Lisbonintegration will be slightly more comprehensible since there will be no’European Community’ and no pillars. But Lisbon does not offer a completedefinition of what the Union will be. Obviously,it will be a body based on history, principles, values, treaties and thespecific powers and functions conferred on it by the member states.
Hence it isa body whose nature and existence aren’t taken for granted compared to a nation-state. Asa result, there is more in Lisbon on aims than is usually the case withnational constitutions. In fact, as a polity, or governance system, the EU isdefined by the treaties and what it does.
It cannot, in other words, just ‘be’as can a nation” (Clive H. Church, David Hannelore, 2010 pg. 23).