The EU Reform Treaty
Despite the Irish people's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty on 12 June 2008, the ratification process is continuing in the other EU Member States.The European Heads of State and Government agreed on this at their Summit in Brussels on 20 June.
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Council had resulted in a clear commitment to the Lisbon Treaty. She was pleased with the outlook for the reform process: "We have been able to keep up the dynamism in the process to implement the Lisbon Treaty." Nevertheless, the Heads of State and Government were agreed that more time was needed to analyze the situation.
The EU Heads of State and Government signed the Lisbon Treaty – a Reform Treaty giving the European Union a new foundation – on 13 December 2007.
Germany: ratification well on schedule
In Germany the parliamentary ratification process has already been completed: the Bundestag and Bundesrat both approved the law approving the Lisbon Treaty by a large majority.
Legal proceedings have been instituted with the Federal Constitutional Court on the grounds that ratification of the Lisbon Treaty would allegedly breach fundamental constitutional principles. Federal President Horst Köhler will not sign the instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon of 13 December 2007 until the Federal Constitutional Court has reached a decision on whether the law approving it complies with the constitution. This is in response to a request from the Federal Constitutional Court, pursuant to pending applications for temporary respite. The same procedure was adopted when legal complaints were made against the Maastricht Treaty and the Constitutional Treaty. The Federal Government is confident that Germany will finally be able to ratify the Treaty as scheduled before the end of 2008.
A Treaty for the EU's future
The Union of 27 must be able to successfully master the challenges of a global world which is developing dynamically. The Lisbon Treaty therefore improves its capacity to act:
The European Council will in future have a full-time President elected for two-and-a-half years.
The Union will get a "face": the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will head the Council of Foreign Ministers and will be Vice-President of the Commission.
- The introduction of the double majority and the further reduction of areas in which decisions must be unanimous will make decision-making tangibly easier.
- Transnational cooperation by the police and judicial systems will be extended.
- The EU will become more transparent and more efficient. There will be a clearer delineation of tasks and responsibilities between the Union and the Member States.
At the same time the Lisbon Treaty will substantially improve the European Union's democratic legitimacy and protection of citizens' fundamental rights:
- The European Parliament will have increased competences. It will become an equal co-legislator alongside the Council and in future will elect the President of the Commission.
- The national parliaments' rights of codetermination and control will be strengthened.
- European Citizens' Initiatives will be possible. By collecting at least a million signatures, citizens from different Member States can demand that the EU Commission propose a bill.
- The Lisbon Treaty makes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union legally binding.
Future tasks as new issues for the EU:
- For the first time at European level, there will be a new statutory basis for climate protection and energy policy.
Further information can be found at:
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