As of December 1st 2009, the Lisbon Treaty enters into force in the European Union.
It provides the EU with modern institutions and optimised working methods to tackle both efficiently and effectively today's challenges in today's world. In a rapidly changing world, Europeans look to the EU to address issues such as globalisation, climatic and demographic changes, security and energy. The Treaty of Lisbon reinforces democracy in the EU and its capacity to promote the interests of its citizens on a day-to-day basis.
The occasion will be marked by a ceremony in the city of Lisbon, organised jointly by the Portuguese Government, the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission. Overall, the Treaty will streamline decision-making procedures, enhance the EU’s role in the world and make the EU more accountable to its citizens.
The treaty sets out to do just that. When European leaders reached agreement on the new rules, they were thinking of the political, economic and social changes going on, and the need to live up to the hopes and expectations of the European public. The Treaty of Lisbon defines what the EU can and cannot do, and what means it can use. It alters the structure of the EU’s institutions and how they work. As a result, the EU is more democratic and its core values are better served.
This treaty, signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007, is the result of negotiations between EU member countries in an intergovernmental conference, in which the Commission and Parliament were also involved. The treaty was ratified by each of the EU’s 27 members. It was up to each country to choose the procedure for ratification, in line with its own national constitution.
The Treaty of Lisbon introduces the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, signed and proclaimed in Nice (France) on December 7th 2000, as a primary law. The Treaty makes a cross-reference to the Charter as a real catalogue of rights that the EU believes all citizens of the Union should enjoy vis-à-vis the Union's institutions and the Union's law binding guarantees.
The institutions of the Union must respect the rights written into the Charter. The same obligations are incumbent upon the Member States when they implement the Union’s legislation. The Court of Justice will ensure that the Charter is applied correctly. The incorporation of the Charter does not alter the Union’s powers, but offers strengthened rights and greater freedom for citizens.
For further information on the Lisbon Treaty from the European Union's website, click here.