Q1. “Under the Treaty of Lisbon two institutions directly elected by EU citizens, the European Parliament and the European Council, are the most powerful. This assignment of powers enhances the democratic nature of the European Union and its legitimacy.
In order to explore the nature of the Lisbon treaty we must first examine the nations of Europe and their social, economic, and political relationships with each other. We must also engage in cursory review of a few important treaties that preceded the Lisbon treaty. Most importantly, those events that led most directly to the formation of the European Union and the formation of its core policies will be the focus of the pre-Lisbon Treaty discussion. By reviewing the environment which led to its formation, and analyzing the forces in Europe that led to its development, the reader will be left with a relevant and current account of what the Lisbon Treaty is and how it affects the lives of Europeans today (Craig,. 2008).
The European Union was the result of an evolution of the former EC (European Communities) which was composed of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community. After this group of organizations was renamed the European Union, they still retained the core values that brought them together in the first place. Being deeply connected to the Common Market in Europe, the EU was focused on improving the free movement of labor, capital, and goods throughout the region. To facilitate the development of this free-trade friendly environment, the member states within the EU were also encouraged to adopt a single currency, common to all members. Strict financial standards were demanded of entering nations in order for them to be accepted into the monetary union. The Maastricht Treaty of 1991 outlined these criteria and also established legal guidelines in addition to policy that paved the way for future international cooperation among member states (McKay, 1005).
Many found the policies of the Maastricht Treaty to be a vital step in curbing the runaway economic problems endemic to some European countries. They felt that the adoption of a common currency and the strict financial standards for entry would protect the economic strength of the Union and all of Europe as a result. In addition to the acceptance of a single currency, many also felt that participation in the EU signaled a change in European policy for the better; a strong United Europe would be able to interact with the world from a far more advantageous position than would these individual countries themselves.
Not everybody appreciated the new standards. There were many citizens who grumbled about the far reaching bureaucratic activities of the EU which sought to impose common standards on everything from cheese to day care and upset the traditional order of business in many places. The Maastricht treaty barely passed by democratic vote in France and many citizens feared the loss of their democratic sovereignty if the EU was to gain even more power. After the full acceptance of the new national currency, the Euro, the EU grew bolder and eventually started to let in some Eastern Bloc countries. The rapid growth of the EU quickly led to the realization that the governing system needed a major overhaul. A new constitution was drawn up that outlined various rights and regulations pertaining to taxation and voting rights within the Union. Getting a consensus vote on the constitution was made difficult by diverse and often deep cultural differences between East and West Europeans. This constitution failed to be ratified but a new proposal, the Lisbon Treaty, was interjected in 2007 and was finally fully accepted in 2009 . The successful ratification of the Lisbon Treaty was considered a milestone in the effort to achieve European unity.
The New York Times broke the news on November 3, 2008 with the headline “European Union Reform Moves Ahead.” The finalization of this agreement is to place the European Union in a position of world power on the same level as China or the U.S.A. The last member to sign was President Vaclav Klaus, of the Czech Republic, only doing so after his countries court system deemed it compatible with their national constitution. The finalization of this process will allow the EU to hire a full-time president who will serve a two and a half year term and also created a position for a foreign policy chief. Diplomats worldwide will be employed by this new enactment and with the new policy comes a new and improved voting system that better reflects member state populations; consequently, this reduces the possibility of single states to veto a bill as more power will be bestowed in the European Parliament.
Q2. Does the TFEU provide a complete and effective set of procedures and remedies for natural and legal persons who are aggrieved by the unlawful actions or inactions of the EU of institutions?
Despite the relief and joy of those who had been awaiting his signature, not everybody was overjoyed at the decision. Mr. Klaus himself was only just recently a bitter opponent of the Lisbon Treaty and the European Union as a whole. Even while at the ceremony he wasn’t all roses, blatantly stating “I cannot agree with its contents because once the Lisbon Treaty will come into effect, the Czech Republic will cease to be a sovereign state.” Apparently Mr. Klaus was concerned that if he refused to sign, his country would become isolated and his people would suffer because of this. He only came to an agreement with the European leaders after they agreed to exempt his country from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which he claimed would lead to lawsuits being filed by exiled German expatriates.
The next task on hand in the EU is to find qualified individuals to fill the many new open positions. For the presidential role, British former Prime Minister Tony Blair was a candidate but the EU is already looking toward other, lower profile, politicians in the greater European community, most of them former or current Prime Ministers or Chancellors
More recently, the world’s economic turmoil has had an effect on the policymaking of the EU. In October 2010, the European Union management had decided to create a long term system designed to handle foreign sovereign debts problems but there were strong disagreements between the more financially stable countries like Germany, and those who had weaker economic backing such as France, as to who should bear more of the responsibility required in the financial restructuring procedures . Most of this new activity was prompted by the recent financial crisis in Greece which spread to a few other countries as well but was fairly well (at least temporarily) contained by a 750 thousand Euro bailout fund.
- CRAIG, P. (2008). The Treaty of Lisbon: Process, architecture and substance. European Law Review, 33(2), 137.
- Duke, S. (2008). The Lisbon Treaty and External Relations. Eipascope, (1), 1–6. Retrieved from http://aei.pitt.edu/11042/1/20080509183907_SCOPE2008-1-3_SimonDuke.pdf
EEPA. (2007). The Lisbon Treaty. Retrieved from http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty.html
- European Union. (2010). Treaty of Lisbon. Official Journal of the European Union, 53, 408.
Reh, C. (2009). The lisbon treaty: De-constitutionalizing the european union? Journal of Common Market Studies, 47(3), 625–650
- Wessels, W., & Bopp, F. (2008). The Institutional Architecture of CFSP after the Lisbon Treaty – Constitutional breakthrough or challenges ahead ? Lifelong Learning (Vol. 2008).
- Sieberson, S. (2008). Lisbon treaty and democratic deficit.pdf. Columbia Journal of European Law, 14(Summer), 25.