Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Analysis: The Treaty of Lisbon - End of the impasse or beginning of the end?

The Treaty of Lisbon takes the project of the European Union to a new phase, which aims at a better functioning of Europe as a block, unblocking the impasse that lasted two and a half years since the failure of the European Constitution. However, the Treaty of Lisbon only will have a meaning if it is ratified by the Parliaments of the Member States or in referendum.

On Thursday, the 13th of December, at the Monastery of Jerónimos, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed which was, together with the realization of the African Union European Union Summit, undoubtedly the crown of glory for the Portuguese Presidency of the E.U., that will give increased value to this country.

What does the Treaty of Lisbon mean?

For the first time, it will be possible to approve decisions with a qualified majority and not only an absolute majority. From 2014, it will be possible to approve a decision with a favorable vote of 55 per cent of the Member States or 65 per cent of the population of the Union (in referendum).

To form a minority blockade with powers, it will be necessary to have at least 4 Member States and 35.01 % of the population of the Union.

There will be a President of the European Council, elected for a period of two and a half years with reelection approved by a qualified majority. The Treaty of Lisbon establishes a connection between the election of the President of the European Commission and the European parliamentary elections.

The post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security will be created .

The Court of Justice will have more powers on internal subjects.

The deputies in the European Parliament decrease from 785 to 751.

The European Parliament (up to now with merely advisory powers and not executive) will have new powers of legislation, budgetary and international agreements and the same powers will be attributed to it as the Council of Europe in the formulation of legislation.

The national parliaments will be more wrapped in the works of the Union.

Under Citizen Initiative, a million citizens of the Member States (conditions) will be able to demand proposals in policies of the Commission.

Leaving the Union. The Treaty of Lisbon, for the first time, recognizes the right of a State to leave the European Union.

A Letter of Basic Rights comes into the European legislation, assuring greater protection of the citizens.

However, the Treaty will be ratified in each one of the Member States, in their respective parliaments, or in referenda. The limit intended for this process to end is the 1st of January of 2009.

Sócrates praises Merkel

The Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates, praised the Head of the Government of Germany, Ângela Merkel, for her pledge in this process, which culminated in the Treaty of Lisbon, one of the great goals of the Portuguese Presidency.

For Sócrates, the Treaty of Lisbon "offers a picture of multilateral regulation which results in benefits for the assembly and for each individual part". He added that, "History will recall this day as a day that new roads of hope for European ideals were opened".

For the President of the European Commission,, José Barroso, "It is particularly important to communicate the added value of the treaty and the advantage of the efficiency that acts for our decision making process, the profit for democracy that acts for our institutions and the potential of coherence in our external actions".


However, how is it possible to talk about democracy, if nobody voted for the process?

The European Constitution failed because it was quickly noticed that when submitted to a vote, the people do not want Eurocrats to decide their fate without popular consultation. The reaction of the Eurocrats, embodying the majority of the current Leaders of State and of Government, is to say that being like this, if the people are going to vote against it, then we will not have more referenda.

Being so, the European Union is not based on the foundations of democratic legitimacy, but only on the will of a clique of politicians, a new class of supra-national gray Eurocrats that gravitate around Brussels and Strasbourg, invisible and without a face, but with the cheek of assuming that they speak for the people and look after their interests.

For that very reason, without this stamp of popular approval, any Treaty of Lisbon that opens the door to provide decisions at the national level with national consequences, is condemned, opening the crevices that in the future will provoke the collapse of the European Union project.

Remember, the Roman Empire had a single legal system law, a single currency and a single language (Latin) and what happened to it?