TWO YEARS AFTER LISBON: THE COMMISSION'S VIEW
     

CEPS facilitated 1 December 2011 the event "Two Years after Lisbon: The Commission's view", where Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Interinstitutional Relations and Administration, speeched on the fast changing situations and dynamic expectations in relation to the Lisbon Treaty.

"Treaty change is not a quick solution to the current crisis"

The Lisbon Treaty has powerful tools in many of the key areas that it set out to address: enhanced democratic legitimacy; improved efficiency and capacity to act; and stronger, more coordinated external action. But the last two years have also demonstrated that improvements do not follow automatically from institutional and legal change. They depend on political will and leadership to implement effectively what has been agreed.

 

Some main points from the speech:

  • the Parliament is playing its role as the representative of EU citizens and as co-legislator to the full

  • national parliaments are participating more and more in EU policymaking

  • the European Citizens’ Initiative introduces a whole new dimension of participatory democracy at EU level

  • The Commission and the European Parliament are making every effort to make EU politics more understandable and visible to the EU media and citizens

  • accession to the European Human Rights Convention

  • The Union's capacity to take decisions has been improved

  • The Treaty reform did not focus on policy, but it did deliver some concrete examples of how the EU can add value in areas of new competences

  • The new European External Action Service has been made operational in record time. However, a common foreign and security policy, including defence, can only work if national governments want it.we still miss too many opportunities to make our voice heard through a unified representation of the EU externally

The Treaty is now back in the headlines. The crisis has forced to look long and hard not only at our economies and public finances but also at the laws and structures through which Europe is governed.

read the full speech

 

The current crisis can be overcome if the deep interdependence is taken seriously. The Treaty is right: no-one could now dispute that we should 'treat our economic policies as a matter of common concern'. The right conclusions need to be drawn from this in terms of economic governance, which must be concentrated on now.

The European Commission with the other institutions and all interested parties are ready to examine possible limited changes to the Treaty in the longer term. But as the experience of Lisbon amply demonstrated, it is not a process to be taken lightly.

In conclusion on the Lisbon Treaty: Yes, we can already see how the numerous innovations have helped us to deepen democracy, improve efficiency and defend better our values and interests in the world. However, we have certainly not exhausted the possibilities. Further progress will depend on political will and leadership.