Signed in 2007 and entered in force in 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon is in fact the combination of two pieces of legislation. The first one is a new version for the Treaty of the European Union (TEU). The second one is a replacement of the former Treaty of the European Community (TEC) to the new Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
It was a new breath for the institutional structure of the European Union (EU). Indeed, Maastricht and Amsterdam were already out of date. The Treaty of Nice was more an emergency strap with little institutional outcomes. Last but not least, it permitted the European Union to reach a solution after the failure of the European Constitutional Treaty of 2005 and the rejection of France and the Netherlands.
The birth of this Treaty took several years. After the 2005 French and Dutch referendums, the Council decided to halt the Constitutional Treaty ratification process. A new solution has been found in the summer of 2007 to mainly, converting Constitutional reforms into a traditional treaty for the EU. We are still under the experiment stage for this Treaty. Put in place after the 2009 European elections, Lisbon entered into force in December 2009.
The euro crisis, adding the EU bashing from some member States, the UK potential in or out referendum, the Budget negotiations illustrate how it is complicated to analyse deeply and correctly how Lisbon reforms were put in place and how they changed the game in EU politics. Nonetheless, this gap between theory and practice should come to an end and today we can see or at last make hypothesis for the Treaty of Lisbon outcomes. So, can we really state that indeed, the Lisbon Treaty and its outcomes clarified the EU decision-making? Did it cure, at least relatively, cure the lack of democratic accountability, coherence and efficiency in the European Union?
[...] But still, those “Conciliation committees” remains blurry in their composition. For instance MEPs are chosen for the trialogue by their parliamentary commission (with the “rapporteur” of the text, the President of the commission and some active MEP about the subjects) but this type of procedure does not exist for the Council. So inside those committees, the legitimacy can be unbalanced between elected MEPs and members of the Council's administration. This would not be possible in the public policy decision-making and can obviously limiting the accountability and the (democratic) legitimacy of the EU decision- making. [...]
[...] After three and a half years, the answer would be a “shy” yes. Scholars are still debating about this subject. For Rey (Rey page 646), Lisbon impacts strengthen the idea of the ‘thin' constitution in favour of the supranational level but compared the European Constitution attempt, it weakened the idea of a ‘thick' and clear constitutionalism. Scicluna (Scicluna pp 452-453) perceives Lisbon and the “post-Lisbon reorientation of European constitutionalism to pursue integration in a way that better respects the legal and political boundaries of the member States”. [...]
[...] And last but not least, the last discussed topic is focusing on the democratic deficit and how Lisbon might have curbed the distance between Brussels and the EU citizenship. ❖ The main institutional reform is the decision procedure. Established with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the co-decision procedure between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union became the ordinary procedure with the Treaty of Lisbon. The institution that was the most in favour of this reform was obviously the European Parliament (or EP) (Hix, 2011). [...]
[...] The creation of the Council was not consensual with all the member States. According to Dinan Desmond, during the negotiations of the Lisbon Treaty, small member States were concerned that the new institutions and the new President would overshadow the European Commission and the rotating presidencies (Desmond, 2009). The previous system permitted to small member States to gain more power on the EU agenda compared to powerful countries like Germany, France or the United-Kingdom. After three years and a half of meetings, critically evaluate the role of this new institution is difficult. [...]
[...] Environmental, energy, transport, economic, social and territorial cohesion, public health, development and humanitarian are also topics and policies under the scope of the article 4. The third and last competence concerns the industry, culture, education or tourism under the appellation support competences (TFEU article 6). The end of the pillar organisation was helpful for the justice and home affairs (JHA) agenda at the EU level. Indeed, asylum policy, police coordination, justice coordination had improved since the Lisbon Treaty at the European level. This integration is obviously to the Schengen space policies however several countries like the United-Kingdom are still outside this area. [...]
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