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The Lisbon Treaty (2009)


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The Lisbon Treaty, signed in 2007 and entered into force on 1 December 2009, raised significant debate among member states and citizens of the European Union. It proposes some quite significant changes to the EU. A number of these changes are very visible and some are more subtle but all are likely to have impact on Europe. This section of this module will highlight the main aspects of the Lisbon Treaty and provide you with the information to help understand the arguments for and against the Lisbon Treaty.

The Lisbon Treaty or the Reform Treaty (to use its official title) was born out of the rejection of a European Constitution by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Many argue that the Lisbon Treaty is not that different from the Constitutional Treaty. This link between the two is denied, however, by many pro-EU politicians.

Click on the link to read about the similarities between the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty

  • Notice the legal distinction between treaty and a constitution

Read this page from the EU on the proposed changes and their justification

  • Look out for what is said about co-decision
  • Look at what is said about the EU as a global actor
  • Do you see the Lisbon Treaty as revolutionary or just a relativley minor extension of what existed before under Maastricht?

Have a look at this You Tube video below outlining some of the key issues surrounding the changes proposed under the Lisbon Treaty.

  • What do you think? Will these changes have a profound difference?
  • Notice the argument for reforming the institutions

Have a look at this You Tube video below of former Conservative MP William Hague’s fears regarding the new role of President of the European Council.

Given your knowledge of the theories of spillover and ‘unintended consequences’, do you think Mr Hague had grounds to be worried?

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