Monday, November 30, 2009

Entry into force of the EU "Lisbon Treaty"

The Treaty amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, generally known as the Treaty of Lisbon, will finally enter into force tomorrow.

The full text of the Lisbon Treaty is available here.

It may be worth noting in passing that the ancient and venerable Treaty establishing the European Community is renamed the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Among the key changes of the Treaty are:

§ The abolition of the current distinction between the European Community and the European Union and the establishment of the EU as a single legal entity;

§ The appointment of a full-time President of the European Council and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy;

§ The enhanced role for national parliaments (e.g. national parliaments get the right to raise objections against draft EU legislation where national or local action would allegedly be more effective);

§ The enhanced role for the European Parliament through increasing the areas in which it will share the task of law-making with the Council of Ministers;

§ The double majority voting system in the Council of Ministers (55 per cent of Member States representing 65 per cent of the EU’s population), whose scope of application is also extended to new areas;

§ The Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is given legally binding status;

§ The citizens’ initiative, whereby at least one million citizens from a number of Member States can invite the Commission to submit a legislative proposal;

§ The “exit clause,” which provides procedures for Member States wishing to leave the EU.

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