20 Facts About Lisbon Treaty


Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement that amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union .

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The Lisbon Treaty made the Union's bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding.

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Negotiations to modify EU institutions began in 2001, resulting first in the proposed Lisbon Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which would have repealed the existing European treaties and replaced them with a "constitution".

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Under the original timetable set by the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2007, the Lisbon Treaty was initially scheduled to be fully ratified by the end of 2008, thus entering into force on 1 January 2009.

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When its impact is assessed, the biggest winners from Lisbon Treaty have been Parliament, with its increase in power, and the European Council.

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The first months under Lisbon Treaty arguably saw a shift in power and leadership from the commission, the traditional motor of integration, to the European Council with its new full-time and longer-term President.

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Lisbon Treaty has expanded the use of qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers by having it replace unanimity as the standard voting procedure in almost every policy area outside taxation and foreign policy.

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Lisbon Treaty instructs that Council deliberations on legislation will be held in public, as was already the case in the European Parliament.

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Rather than setting out a precise number, the Treaty of Lisbon gives the power to the Council of the EU, acting unanimously on the initiative of the Parliament and with its consent, to adopt a decision fixing the number of MEPs for each member state.

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Additionally, the Treaty of Lisbon will reduce the maximum number of MEPs from a member state from 99 to 96 and increases the minimal number from 5 to 6 .

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Treaty of Lisbon expanded the role of Member States' parliaments in the legislative processes of the EU by giving them a prior scrutiny of legislative proposals before the Council and the Parliament can take a position.

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Treaty of Lisbon allows national parliaments eight weeks to study legislative proposals made by the European Commission and decide whether to send a reasoned opinion stating why the national parliament considers it to be incompatible with the principle of subsidiarity.

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Treaty of Lisbon stated that the size of the Commission will reduce from one per member state to one for two-thirds of member states from 2014, with an equal rotation over time.

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However, the Lisbon Treaty provided that the European Council could unanimously decide to alter this number.

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Lisbon Treaty foresees that the European Security and Defence Policy will lead to a common defence for the EU when the European Council resolves unanimously to do so, and provided that all member states give their approval through their usual constitutional procedures.

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The Treaty of Lisbon abolished this pillar system, and as a consolidated entity, the European Union succeeded the legal personality of the European Communities.

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Lisbon Treaty introduces an exit clause for members wanting to withdraw from the Union.

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New provision in the Treaty of Lisbon is that the status of French, Dutch and Danish overseas territories can be changed more easily, by no longer requiring a full treaty revision.

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Lisbon Treaty provides for the passerelle clauses which allows the European Council to unanimously decide to move from unanimous voting to qualified majority voting, and move from a special legislative procedure to the ordinary legislative procedure.

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Lisbon Treaty allows for the changing of voting procedures without amending the EU treaties.

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