Lisbon Treaty

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The Treaty of Lisbon or Lisbon Treaty (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties which comprise the constitutional basis of :European Union (EU). The Lisbon Treaty was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It amends the Treaty on European Union (TEU; also known as the Maastricht Treaty) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC; also known as the Treaty of Rome). In this process, the Rome Treaty was renamed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Treaty of Lisbon is a replacement for the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (European Constitution), since the latter failed ratification in France and the Netherlands in 2005.


  • We no longer enjoy the same liberties Americans do. We don't have a constitution. We don't have a First Amendment. What we have, and what the whole of Europe has, is the Lisbon Treaty, a kind of top-down constitution that has been imposed on us against our will. And, unlike the American Constitution which empowers the people, the European constitution dis-empowers the people, and empowers the un-elected bureaucrats and career politicians for whose sole benefit it was created.
  • What happens at 11pm this Friday the 31st of January 2020 marks the point of no return. Once we’ve left, we’re never coming back and the rest frankly is detail. We’re going, and we will be gone. And that should be the summit of my own political ambitions. I walked in here, you all thought it was terribly funny but you stopped laughing in 2016. But my view of Europe has changed since I joined. In 2005, I saw the constitution that had been drafted… and saw it rejected by the French in a referendum. I saw it rejected by the Dutch in a referendum. And I saw you, in these institutions, ignore them. [You brought it back] as the Lisbon treaty, and boast you could ram it through without there being referendums. Well, the Irish did have a vote and did say no, and were forced to vote again. You’re very good at making people to vote again, but what we’ve proved is the British are too big to bully, thank goodness. So I became an outright opponent of the whole European project. I want Brexit to start a debate across the whole of Europe. What do we want from Europe? If we want trade, friendship cooperation, reciprocity, we don’t need a European Commission, we don’t need a European court. We don’t need these institutions and all of this power. And I can promise you, both in UKIP and in the Brexit party, we love Europe. We just hate the European Union.
    • Nigel Farage, EU Farewell Speech, as quoted in Nigel Farage’s Final EU Speech: Mic Gets Cut as He Waves UK Flag in Victory, Breitbart news
  • The presidency repeatedly and intensively tried to cater to the Polish requests and gave in a final step far-reaching concessions to Poland. They were rejected by the Polish side. In this situation the presidency will suggest not to let Europe stand still. We will therefore try to give a strong signal about the capacity of this summit to act and to record the progress of the discussions of the past six months in a common mandate for the other member states on the diplomatic conference. Poland would then have the chance to join the European consensus at the governmental conference in autumn.
  • The way [UK, Poland and other governments] insisted in denying every emotional aspect of Europe [flag, anthem, motto] hurt me (...) And then it is those same governments who complain that the idea of Europe is distant from the people. But how can you involve citizens without involving their emotions?

Reform Treaty and the rejected Constitution[edit]

  • The constitutional treaty was an easily understandable treaty. This is a simplified treaty which is very complicated.
Jean-Claude Juncker, 23 June 2007 [1]
  • If it's a Yes, we will say 'on we go', and if it's a No we will say 'we continue'.
  • The fundamentals of the Constitution have been maintained in large part … We have renounced everything that makes people think of a state, like the flag and the national anthem.”
Angela Merkel, El País, 25 June 2007.
  • The good thing is that all the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really matters – the core – is left.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Jyllands-Posten, 25 June 2007.
  • There’s nothing from the original institutional package that has been changed.”
Astrid Thors, Finland’s Europe minister, TV-nytt, 23 June 2007.
  • A great part of the content of the European Constitution is captured in the new treaties … Everyone has conceded a little so that we all gain a lot.”
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, El País, 25 June 2007.
  • This text is, in fact, a rerun of a great part of the substance of the constitutional treaty.”
  • For the commission the key goal was to save as much as possible from the 2004 text. On reading and rereading the new text, one can safely conclude that most has been preserved. The essentials have been retained.
    • An official at the Commission's legal service, which helped in the drafting of texts, 25 June 2007[5]
  • The Constitution will have another name but the same content.
    Therefore it should also be put for Referendums."
  • Many claim that the Lisbon treaty and the Constitution are 90% identical. Well, the DNA of mice and humans is 90% the same - but the remaining 10% is rather important. The point is that the idea of repealing all the existing treaties and replacing them with a new 'constitution' has been dropped in favour of keeping the existing treaties and simply amending them.
    • Richard Corbett MEP, Labour spokesman on EU constitutional questions and European Parliament rapporteur on Lisbon Treaty, on BBC website 3 August 2007
  • "I am astonished at those who are afraid of the people: one can always explain that what is in the interest of Europe is in the interests of our countries."
    "Britain is different. Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?"
    "There is a single legal personality for the EU, the primacy of European law, a new architecture for foreign and security policy, there is an enormous extension in the fields of the EU's powers, there is Charter of Fundamental Rights."
Jean-Claude Juncker, Le Soir [7][8]
  • Undaunted, the Brussels establishment continued to pursue unification. By 2005 it had sought to adopt a new constitution, overseen by the veteran French politician Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. This awarded the EU a third presidency (now of the European Council as well as its Commission and Parliament), and further extended majority voting in the European Council. This ran into immediate trouble. Rarely in the EU’s history were the peoples of Europe directly consulted on its powers, or even its existence. Decisions were taken by elected governments. The Giscard constitution was rejected in French and Dutch referendums, and the final treaty by the Irish. These votes were either rerun or ignored. The final Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007, with virtually no concessions to subsidiary nationalism, its authors blind to any incipient resentment it might breed.
    • Simon Jenkins, A Short History of Europe: From Pericles to Putin (2018)


  1. EU leaders hammer out treaty deal. Swissinfo / NZZ (24 June 2007). Retrieved on 2007-06-26.
  2. Rennie, David (26 May 2005). "Keep up the pressure for a No vote, Left warned". The Telegraph (UK). Retrieved on 29 June 2011. 
  3. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing: Conclusions du Conseil européen de Bruxelles, 21 et 22 juin 2007, 25 June 2007
  4. Bruno Waterfield and George Jones: Brown under pressure to call EU referendum, Telegraph, 27 June 2007
  5. Bruno Waterfield and George Jones: Brown under pressure to call EU referendum, Telegraph, 27 June 2007
  6. Jens-Peter Bonde: Between Montesquieu, Merkel and Macciavelli – Bonde's Briefing, 28 June 2007
  7. L'invité du lundi Jean-Claude Juncker : « Succès objectif, déception atmosphérique », 2 July 2007, Le Soir, 2 July 2007, page 18
  8. Bruno Waterfield, Brendan Carlin: 'Don't tell British about the EU treaty', Telegraph, 3 July 2007

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