Business Briefs


Political and Institutional Factors: EU Constitutional Issues

On October 18, 2007 the heads of state and governments of the EU member states agreed on a final text of the Lisbon Treaty (the “Reform Treaty”), which amended the Treaty of Rome (1957) and the Treaty on the European Union (1992). The final text is the outcome of the painful “EU reflection period” that was invoked after French and Dutch voters rejected the ambitious “Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe ” in a popular referendum in June 2005. As the new Treaty is “just a Treaty” and not a “Constitution”, most European governments concluded that they can proceed by ratifying through parliament, thus by-passing the risk of another referendum.

This brief explains the developments that led to the drafting of the Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty, and outlines the most important institutional and policy-oriented innovations proposed in it, as well as their consequences.

  • Background: the Laeken Declaration and the Convention on the Future of Europe
  • Changes Made by the Lisbon Treaty
  • Ratification

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