89 Connect Forums Policy The Lisbon Treaty, 10 years later

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Tasio Ayensa 02/01/2020, 15:04.

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  • #3710
    Maria Ludovica Bozzo
    Maria Ludovica Bozzo
    Participant
    Halfway
    445 points

    1 December 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon, a great goal for the constitutional framework of the EU. However, many voices raise to wonder if this anniversary is really cause for celebration.

    The Lisbon Treaty did not expand the competences of the EU, nor it tried to reform EU policies. Instead, it pointed on institutional changes, aiming to make the EU’s institutional system more effective, and to enhance the EU’s democratic transparency and accountability.

    Nevertheless, the last decade has left marks on the EU, generated by crises in several areas: economy, migration, democracy, membership…
    There is no doubt that, although a vast majority of the Lisbon Treaty’s changes have been helpful, there are several areas where the EU institutions still need to change.

    What is your opinion about it? What are the most important benefits and the worst lacks of the Lisbon Treaty? What the top priorities now?

  • #3723
    Luka Becker
    Luka Becker
    Participant
    Newcomer
    229 points

    The problem with the Lisbon Treaty starts at its origins. Although referendums were guaranteed, the voters’ will was not really taken into consideration. Following the no vote in French and Dutch referendums, the result was a formation of the Lisbon Treaty only ratified by all states shortly after a second successful referendum in Ireland. And, even though the Reform Treaty was not so different from the Treaty for the Constitution for Europe, states did not use the referendum anymore as the way of ratification, but parliamentary consent! (Excluding Ireland, of course)

    All of this troubled path, first showed that European integration is elite-guided. Moreover, it confirmed that countries are not treated equally. Finally, I would say that way too much time has been lost focusing on the institutional framework instead of committing for needed development: in fact, I do agree that the Lisbon Treaty does not represent an outstanding wave of changes and that further reforms are needed.

    The main of these reforms, regard the fact that democratic deficit remains clear even after the reformers’ manifested efforts.

  • #3763
    Tasio Ayensa
    Tasio Ayensa
    Participant
    Newcomer
    0 points

    For me, treaties, and specially the Lisbon Treaty, could be regarded as some kind of ”decaffeinated” constitutions. They usually seek to broaden the EU base and even add new competences or rights, as do constitutions. One may think that the Lisbon Treaty was a compensation for the constitutional failure, but that does not mean that it was something negative or that it should not be celebrated, as it was a step forward in European history.

    Yes, it was a minor step than would have been the approval of the European Constitution, but the cause of its failure (and the shift towards an ”elite-guided integration”, as Luka says), lies in the difficulty of approving these major reforms and in their periodicity. Imagine if you had a new Constitution in your country every 15 years. It would be a mess and people would lose interest. That is why it has turned into an easier process with the parliamentary consent, even though it may be seen as elite-guided. The European Union will need a Constitution sooner or later, but their institutions have to move foward progressively in that direction, because a sudden-major change wont work (as the Constitutional failure showed us).

    So, answering Maria, yes, the Lisbon Treaty was something to celebrate, but it was not the major change it was thought to be. It was another step forward and the confirmation of the need to establish stronger institutions before continuing with the great political step of the approval of a common Constitution.

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