Here we are, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Treaty of Lisbon: on 1st December 2009, the Treaty that put an end to years of negotiations entered into force. The Treaty of Lisbon, telling the truth, in some way represented a step backwards. At least, for the many Europeanists who strongly believed in the birth of a European Constitution. Therefore, over a decade later, we are here asking ourselves how that treaty has changed our lives and whether it has had a real impact on the countries of the European Union.
Many changes have been made and many of them allow us to be the European citizens we are today.
What were the goals? What really happened? Make the European Union more democratic and transparent. It was possible through the simultaneous strengthening of the European Parliament and those of the individual member states. Sharing sovereignty in Europe is not easy. Each country wants to have its voice and somehow prevail. So, the Lisbon Treaty has also considered this. What the Lisbon Treaty has sought to do is to create a Europe of rights and values, freedom, solidarity and security. These values are the body and soul of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which the Treaty has incorporated into European primary law.
The creation of the post of President of European Council, the introduction of Article 50 and the desire to modernise the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). All this and much more is the Treaty of Lisbon. A Europe that is a major player on the international stage, bringing together the Community’s foreign policy instruments. The European “Foreign Minister” is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. This is one of the fundamental innovations. Europe speaks to the world through a single voice.
However, the European Union, as a united whole, still has a lot to do. Actually, a lot has changed in the last ten years. The European Union is trying to keep up, but internal divisions persist. New themes and new challenges. Climate change, terrorism challenges, digitalization and gender equality. The European institutions should not be allowed to stall. The wave of nationalism and sovereignty that is rapidly invading the continent needs a response. Immediately.
As such, it is difficult to judge the Lisbon Treaty. It is a milestone in our system. The Lisbon Treaty has turned the Community into a Union. It has radically changed our lives and will continue to do so in the future. But new challenges lie ahead and the dear old treaty is ready to retire. To keep up with progress (especially technological development!) new tools are needed.
Indeed, today the entire bureaucratic and administrative system seems obsolete and the public confidence is falling sharply. It is necessary to overcome some formalisms that keep the Union stuck in an impasse that it does not deserve. Working together and to put aside differences. We have already experienced throughout history that remaining united is the only solution. We have to do that.
The Treaty of Lisbon is our past, now it is up to us to build the future.
“Europe is not just a treasure we inherit.President Ursula von der Leyen attended the ceremony to mark the start of the new European Commission and the 10th anniversary of the Treaty of Lisbon at the House of European History in Brussels.
Europe is a promise.
Europe is future.
Europe is something that we all have to build – brick by brick, day by day.”