Lisbon Treaty

Lisbon Treaty 

The Lisbon Treaty is the name of the new treaty  that has governed European integration and cooperation since 1 December 2009 when it entered into force. has established a consolidated and readable text that you can read or look up on this site. 

THe Lisbon Treaty includes virtually all of the provisions of the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005. Instead of being adopted directly in the proposed EU Constituion, they were adopted indirectly in the form of amendments to the existing treaties in what was called The Lisbon Treaty.The term Lisbon Treaty is now generally used to refer to the Consolidated EU Treaties - all the treaties and amendments governing European integration from the Treaty of  Rome  up to the present time. The Reader-Friendly edition of the Treaties, togeter with the Index which is essential in finding one's way around the treaties, can be got at euABC.

The Lisbon Treaty has been changed a few times since 2009 because of the financial crisis. It has followed the Nice Treaty, the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Treaty of Maastricht, The Single European Act and the Treaty of Rome. All treaties have given the EU more powers and introduced more majority voting at the supranational level. 

The Lisbon Treaty established 106 new powers for the EU, and 68 new areas for decision by qualified majority in the Council. 

The Lisbon Treaty abolished the previous constitutional structure with its "three pillars" in the European treaties.These consisted  of one pillar of supranational Community law, and two pillars or  areas of foreign and security policy on the one hand, and justice and home affairs on the other hand, where member States  cooperated "intergovernmentally", without suranational law-making. 

The Lisbon Treaty abolished the European Community and transferred all its powers and institutions to the new European  "Union". The Union also obtained legal personality under Article 47 TEU. This gives the Union the right to represent all areas of integration/cooperation, in its relations with other countries. 

From the standpoint of other countries, the EU is now widely seen as a state, although it does not look like a state to its own citizens internally, because individual member states are still represented independently at the UN and because they still retain their traditional governmental institutions although the functions of these have much changed. 

The Lisbon Treaty also established a Joint Permanent Chairman/President of the European Council and an EU foreign minister. 

The term European Community disappeared from all treaties and was replaced by the word "Union" or "European Union". 

The Treaty grants citizens of the now 28 member states an "additional" citizenship on top of their national citizenship. This corresponds to the internal dual citizenship of citizens of classical federal states such as the USA and Federal Germany. Before the Lisbon Treaty EU citizenship was stated to be "complementary" to national citizenship rather than "additional" to that.

The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights was made ​​legally binding, so that the EU Court of Justice  can further develop the legal principles and fundamental rights in the Union for its citizens. See Article 6 TEU. With the Melloni judgment in 2013 the Charter provisions prevail over member states' constitutions. 

The Lisbon Treaty has introduced a new voting system based on population size  that shifts power from small to larger member states and  which entered into force on 1 November 2014. 

The Lisbon Treaty has also EP involvement in many more areas and provided Parliament with a significant role in the the appointment of the new Commission. There is a treaty phrase that the prime ministers and presidents in the Europan Coiuncil should take into account the result of the European elections when deciding on their proposals for Commission President. 

This phrase, the European Parliament utilized to nominate candidates for the various party groups for the presidency in 2014. The Christian Democrats lost the elections, but could still achieve a majority in the European Parliament for their proposal to appoint Jean-Claude Juncker as the Commission President. Juncker was the former Luxembourg  prime minister for 19 years.

The Prime Ministers and presidents were aware of this parliamentary coup, but eventually accepted Juncker, and he was formally proposed by 26 of the 28 member states before the European Parliament elected him by an absolute majority of its members. 

This democratic "coup" has resulted in a kind of European parliamentarianism, where the majority of citizen voters influence the issue of the President of the Commission by means of their votes in the European elections. 

The Lisbon Treaty  also gave the Commission President considerable power regarding the composition of his Commission. Under Lisbon Member states can only "suggest" the names of their favorite commissioner. Under the Nice Treaty, member states could "propose". The new formula means that national governments can no longer insist that their individual candidates for Commissioner will be accepted. 

 Under Lisbon a new foreign and defence "ministry" has been established in a new building in Brussels and employs thousands of diplomats who have been recruited to the tasks. There are now 139 EU delegations in third countries and international organizations that have achieved the status of embassies, as if they come from a normal state 

The Lisbon Treaty has given the EU legal personality. This allows the EU to negotiate and conclude international agreements with other states and international organizations in all areas of Union action. 

507 million EU citizens have been equipped with an additional EU citizenship on top of their national citizenship. One can only be a citizen of a state.  See Citizenship. 

The Charter of Fundamental Rights is now legally binding and provide citizens with competing rights and obligations as regards their national constitutions and the European Convention on Human Rights. The common basic rights take precedence over national constitutions according to the Melloni judgment of 2013. 



The Lisbon Treaty was rejected by referendum in Ireland on 12 June 2008 with 53.4% No as against 46.6% Yes votes. The voter turnout was 53%. 

On 2 October 2009, the Treaty was approved in a second referendum, after Ireland had gained certain "guarantees" from the EU prime ministers and presidents in the European Council. No change was made to the actual text of the Treaty. In the second referendum 67% of voters said Yes and 33% No, on a turnout of 58% of voters. Ireland secured first, the continued existence of one Commissioner per member state. 

Czech President Vaclav Klaus was then put under pressure to sign the treaty to avoid a referendum in the UK that could have been implemented if a new Conservative government was elected before the Treaty was fully ratified. 

In the morning, November 3, 2009 the Czech Constitutional Court rejected a legal charge against the Treaty of 17 Czech senators. Kl. 15:00 the same day Klaus signed the Treaty as the last, so it could come into force by next month shift. 

At the European summit on 29-30. November, Klaus promised a Czech opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and a political guarantee that the so-called Benes decrees of the Second World War would not be affected by possible rulings of the European Court of Justice using the Charter. 

Many Czechs feared that the Lisbon Treaty could be used by some Germans to claim the property they or their families had lost when they were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War 2. 


Despite the Irish referendum in June 2008, the ratification process among the member states that had not yet ratified the treaty at the time, were encouraged to ratify by the Irish Government. 

This ongoing ratification process was formally confirmed at an EU summit on 20 June 2008. Ireland was asked to consult its own citizens internally and find a solution to the Irish No. 

There was talk of various political representations and warranties that could be given without requiring changes to the Lisbon Treaty. Council Legal Adviser, Jean-Claude Piris had to invent a new "decision" by the European Council,. Piris had also invented the Edinburgh Declaration as a "decision" by the European Council after a Danish rejection of the Maastricht Treaty in a referendum of 2 June 1992. 

Any modification of the treaties would have required new ratifications in all at the time 27 member states. The prime ministers wanted at all costs to avoid ratifications pulled apart by the British elections and thus probably a British rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. 

The Czech government wrote a note to the Council conclusions on their reservations, and the possibility that their constitutional court could prevent the Czech ratification. All other member states agreed that the ratifications should continue despite the Irish No. 

In December 2008, the European Council met in Brussels and agreed that the Lisbon Treaty would enter into force on 1 January 2010 after the European elections in June 2009. 

In June 2009 the European Council in Brussels, adopted the so-called Irish guarantees. The Irish government held a new referendum on 2 October 2009. 

On 13 December 2007, the prime ministers and presidents from the 27 member states signed the Lisbon Treaty as a new "constitution" for the European project. It was approved at a summit in Lisbon on 19 October 2007. 

After signing the text was set to ratification by all member states. 

The Lisbon Treaty provides the same legal obligations as the rejected EU constitution, which was approved by referendum in Spain and Luxembourg, 20 February and 10 July 2005 and since rejected by referendums in France and the Netherlands on 29 May and 1 . June 2005. 

In Spain 76.7% voted Yes, Luxembourg 56.5%. In France, 54.8% voted No, the Netherlands 61.7%. 

The first official name for the Lisbon Treaty was "Reform Treaty". The name was formally changed by the signatures in Lisbon, after which it was called by the name of this city. 

The EU Constitution was first adopted by the Heads of State and Government on 18 June 2004. It was then solemnly signed in Rome on 29 October 2004 as the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe". 

After the rejections in France and Holland prime ministers announced a "period of reflection". The Commission presented a "Plan D - for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate". The ratifications continued. 

The then new German Chancellor Angela Merkel succeeded - through secret diplomacy - reaching agreement on restarting the constitutional process. The decision was made official by the Berlin Declaration of 25 March 2007 on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome was signed. 

The 21-23. June 2007, the summit under the German EU Presidency adopted a detailed negotiating mandate for a new Intergovernmental Conference. 

The IGC began a month later on 23 July 2007. The Portuguese Presidency concluded the negotiations at a special summit in Lisbon on 18 and 19 October 2007. The revised and renamed Constitution could be signed before 2008 and enter into force before the European elections in June 2009. The unexpected Irish No in June 2008 delayed this schedule. 

The Lisbon Treaty cover all the operational items from the rejected EU Constitution, but the presentation was changed radically with the removal of swear-word "constitution". 

Instead of a single document to replace all existing European treaties, the Treaty of Lisbon came to consist of a large number of difficult to understand changes to the existing 17 basic EU treaties with many accompanying protocols and declarations. 

The EU had its constitution indirectly rather than directly. EU constitutional law still consists of a plethora of treaties amending the Treaties. 

With the Lisbon Treaty, the EU has a "constitution" of over 3000 pages, compared to the 560 pages of the "Constitution for Europe". 

The Lisbon Treaty has deleted the Constitution article about European symbols such as flags, Europe Day, the motto and the single EU anthem, which was in the original "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe". 

However, it was also stated that this deletion does not change the status of any of the European symbols that have existed for years without formal basis in the European treaties. 

The Lisbon Treaty moved to Article I-6 of the Constitution of primacy of EU law to Declaration No 17 attached to Lisbon. This statement is similar to the existing case law of the European Court of Justice. The text reads, for example, that EU law can not be "overridden by domestic law" in reference to Case 06/64 "Costa / ENEL". 

You can download the consolidated Treaties as amended by the Lisbon Treaty in a readable form, as well as some books with various comments 



Read a Reader-Friendly Version of the Lisbon Treaty 

See Democracy, Subsidiarity, Constitution, Ratification

German Constitutional Court and the Irish statement 


Various books for free at

 The Convention - on the FutureS of Europe (115 pages)  

From Constitution to Lisbon Treaty