Argument: Lisbon Treaty modernizes EU governance and democratic processes

Issue Report: EU constitution reform treaty (Lisbon Treaty)


“Treaty of Lisbon. Taking Europe into the 21st century”. – “The Treaty of Lisbon will define what the EU can and cannot do, and what means it can use. It will alter the structure of the EU’s institutions and how they work. As a result, the EU will be more democratic and its core values will be better served.”

“Treaty of Lisbon. The Treaty at a glance”. Europa. – A more democratic and transparent Europe, with a strengthened role for the European Parliament and national parliaments, more opportunities for citizens to have their voices heard and a clearer sense of who does what at European and national level.

  • A strengthened role for the European Parliament: the European Parliament, directly elected by EU citizens, will see important new powers emerge over the EU legislation, the EU budget and international agreements. In particular, the increase of co-decision procedure in policy-making will ensure the European Parliament is placed on an equal footing with the Council, representing Member States, for the vast bulk of EU legislation.
  • A greater involvement of national parliaments: national parliaments will have greater opportunities to be involved in the work of the EU, in particular thanks to a new mechanism to monitor that the Union only acts where results can be better attained at EU level (subsidiarity). Together with the strengthened role for the European Parliament, it will enhance democracy and increase legitimacy in the functioning of the Union.
  • A stronger voice for citizens: thanks to the Citizens’ Initiative, one million citizens from a number of Member States will have the possibility to call on the Commission to bring forward new policy proposals.
  • Who does what: the relationship between the Member States and the European Union will become clearer with the categorisation of competences.
  • Withdrawal from the Union: the Treaty of Lisbon explicitly recognises for the first time the possibility for a Member State to withdraw from the Union.

“Treaty of Lisbon. Questions and answers”. – Why does Europe need the Treaty of Lisbon?

To realise its full potential, the European Union needs to modernise and reform. The European Union of 27 members is operating with rules designed for an EU of 15. Over the last decade, the European Union has been looking for the right way forward to optimise the instruments at its disposal and reinforce its capacity to act.

Andrew Duff. “Why Ireland must say ‘Yes’ to Lisbon”. Financial Times. 12 May 2008 – “the fact is that to reject Lisbon means having to continue with the Treaty of Nice – which, paradoxically, eurosceptics universally hate. Without Lisbon the EU will continue to be weak in global affairs and clumsy in the domestic arena; parliamentary democracy will remain half-finished, the rule of law impaired and the system of government opaque. Putting more demands on an unreformed Union, for example in the field of climate and energy policy, or in the efforts to combat poverty and discrimination, will be futile. Without Lisbon, the EU will be unable to deliver better public policy.” It is generally important to recognize that the Nice Treaty was originally designed for an EU consisting of 6 states. This is insufficient.