Treaties and expanded the use of national officials

Treaties of the EU are binding agreements which set out and establish its constitutional basis, and
every action taken by the European Union
is based on the treaties. The European Union
has many treaties as follows: Treaty of Paris
(1951), treaty of Rome(1957), Merger Treaty
(1965), Schengen Agreement (1985), Single European Act(1986),
Maastricht Treaty(1992), Treaty of Amsterdam
(1997) and lastly the Treaty of Lisbon (2007. “Improvements of the Lisbon
treaty aim to enhance the clarity of European Union’s external activities and
moreover at developing its asset base by subsequently
extending the affluence of the European diplomatic relations and strengthening
the part of the European Union as a global actor” (Koehler 2010). “This
has given more a greater resilience as it has improved investment, which is an
instrument to strengthen the compromise inside the European sector where ”the
Lisbon treaty shows up ”to have maintained the position of National Executives
in EU. By then, it has made the EU political structure more definitive and
expanded the use of national officials inside the EU region”(W. Sweden and
N. Bollinger). This paper looks at what The Lisbon Treaty is, and its
objectives. It will also examine the effects of the Treaty (Lisbon) as the main
task of this research paper, and how it has made an impact to enhance the
legitimacy of the European Union, and of course the improvements within the
framework of the EU.

Much
has been said and written about the Treaty of Lisbon. The treaty simply links
all the existing treaties into a new one by streamlining them, like any treaty
that a national government ratifies, it does not require a referendum. The European Union has been growing
over the years and the addition of new member states has taken place. The
European steel and coal community Treaty was signed in 1952 and came into
effect on July 23rd, 1952. When the EU began
only six countries namely (Germany, Italy,
Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France were involved), and eventually more and more states joined reaching up to 28 with
Croatia being the latest member to join. This addition has led to the
revision of the existing treaties to accommodate the member states in which it
would benefit them all.

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The Lisbon treaty was created to help
the European Union leaders respond quickly to global issues, to strengthen the
EU to serve its citizens better. All the treaties that were created except the
European Coal and Steel treaty are still in force dating back to 1958. The
Lisbon treaty is the most recent treaty signed by the European Union states to
amend the Maastricht treaty and treaty of Rome, it is a new step towards
European integration. Signed in December 2007, at Lisbon Portugal, and entered
into force on December 1, 2009, after being ratified by all member
states. It was initially created to further a deeper integration procedure for
the European Union. However, the procedures and transactions had a touch of set
back at, to begin with, there were a few restrictions by a few nations like
Ireland who dismissed the Constitution. The original plan was to establish a
constitution for The European Union. This
would have been a brand-new document which incorporated all the rules and
regulations into one. However, this wasn’t successful due to the French and
Dutch voting no in their referendums, and the only options left were – to
continue with the piece metal approach
where the rules and regulations are scattered across numerous treaties and acts or a new treaty to replace the existing
ones. Which led to creating the treaty of Lisbon.

The Constitution
drew on the existing treaties, one could read the constitution without having to refer back to the old treaties. It
is also a further amendment to the
existing ones, one has to continuously
refer back to the old ones to understand what has been replaced. The treaty was
executed to reinforce and increment the effectiveness of the EU’s outside
strategy, this is because in the past settlements there wasn’t a great deal of
attention given into the EU’s remote approach destinations, and because of the
distinctions of the institutional structures of the EU, it constituted an issue
to the accomplishment of the EU’s outside arrangement as an institutional
performing actor. The Lisbon treaty has streamlined the EU’s institutional
structure and also corrected the structures of the EU’s remote approach, it
made another post for the leader of the European Council, and additionally converging
the external relations of the commission and the high representative
of the foreign affairs council.

The
Lisbon treaty introduced the following:

1.      Coming
into effect the Lisbon treaty created the president of the council with a two-and-a-half-year
term, de facto replacing the rotating presidency (the current one rotates every
six months). “The Common Security and Defense Policy has been refined through
the Lisbon Treaty. From one viewpoint, the present line of emergency
administration through the Petersburg missions proceed,
and then again, development is made in two routes: participation as much as it
takes, through the formation of the  European Defense Agency and through the
foundation of political defense instruments of the Union” (Honorius circa, pp. 391).

2.      It
also changed the single foreign affairs
post created by merging the external relations commissioner with the common foreign and security policy high representative.

3.      The
charter of the fundamental rights became legally binding. “The consolidation of
fundamental rights security system is featured additionally by the likelihood
of the Union’s increase to the European Convention on Human Rights, an
essential record of the Council of Europe, which involves the EU’s
acknowledgment of an extraneous control system in the field of the fundamental
rights” (Honorius circa, pp. 391)

4.      The
three pillars merged to one legal person
thereby increasing the EU’s competence to
sign treaties.

5.      The
European Council also became officially separated from the council of ministers. It strengthened
the powers of the parliament with the decision
in numerous policy areas.

More importantly,
a new method of voting introduced is the qualified majority voting, “Under the rules laid out in the Nice
Treaty member states had fixed weights for their size. A qualified majority
meant having 255 of the 345 of the weighted votes, representing at least 14-member
states and having 62 percent of the EU
population. In the new system, a majority
means having 65 percent of the weighted
votes (by actual population) and fifteen-member states” (Amy Verdun 2012, pp. 4)

Under
the standards laid out in the Nice Treaty,
states had agreed to weights they can deal with. A qualified majority voting
inferred having 255 of the 345 of the weighted votes, representing no less than
14-part states and having 62 percent of the EU populace. In the new framework,
a majority implies having 65 percent of the weighted votes (by real populace)
and fifteen-part states” (Amy Verdun 2012, pp. 4)

The
Lisbon treaty introduced three primary changes to EU’s organizations. The High Representative
of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Lisbon arrangement
has fortified the position of the new high representative of the union for
foreign and security policy, who is additionally one of the Vice Presidents of
the European committee, the high representative, and furthermore the production
of a security foreign policy. As in the Constitution, the position of High
Representative accompanies a few ambiguities. The High representative has a
democratic role, he is selected by the European Council through the qualified
majority voting, with the endorsement of the leader of the European Commission.
The High representative additionally represents the European Council. He acts
according to the council mandate and directs the commission and council’s
external actions. “The Lisbon Treaty formally enables the High Representative
to speak to the Union in CSDP. Despite the fact that the pre-Lisbon High
Representative practically represented the Union,
this power was not formally presented to him. Moreover, the High Representative
as the executive of the Foreign Affairs Council succeeds the earlier pivoting
administration on CSDP matters and obtains
the latter’s obligations” (Matthaios Charalampous pp. 11).

The
treaty has presented key developments for a more proficient foreign policy, it
has made the parliament a democratic institution of the EU which has expanded
the parliament’s part in the viewpoints concerning the CFSP. The parliament
represents the citizens and speaks to the EU residents and ensures that issues
concerning remote approaches are notified to the citizens. The European
Parliament is directly chosen by EU nationals and the parliament utilizes this
energy to building up the foreign policy of the union. “The Lisbon Treaty has
yielded more important powers to the national parliaments, giving them a
section in managing the work by the Commission, and moreover giving them the
Yellow and Orange Card structures, empowering them to fundamentally influence
the upcoming EU enactment. This goes for bringing the organization of the EU
nearer to the general population, as national parliaments might be, by
definition, nearer to their subjects than the Brussels based establishments.
There is also more media focused on national parliaments, and open eagerness
for their work tends to make it faster. They moreover have a more noticeable
ability to get evaluations from people who invest nationally, which is basic in
making system and making establishments, and could some way or another limit
enterprise” (Ainsley gilbert, 2011)

The
parliament has a part in the budget-making of the CFSP, the Lisbon treaty has expanded
its powers in regards to foreign, security and defense strategies, the European
Parliament has the privilege to be informed on basic, common and security
arrangements, the high representative is additionally charged with
incorporating the parliament in decision making. The EU’s external foreign
policy has had accomplishments with respect to the piracy in Somalia and the
sanctions put on Iran in regards to its nuclear energy program, however, it has
had no accomplishment so far in regards to the Ukraine-Russian emergency. This
has demonstrated that the EU member states still can’t set their interests
aside to accomplish a shared objective.

      Lisbon treaty has been beneficial to the
European parliament in changing the decision-making process from the ordinary-legislative
procedure, to co-decision with the council on budgetary matters. This
co-decision reflects both the citizens and states and fundamental human rights,
it has gained a lot of powers and has more authority over the democratic
control of the EU. With 751 members in the parliament, all from the 28-member states,
the European Parliament also has a say on
who joins the European Union membership. Furthermore,
“The Lisbon treaty not only gave the Parliament the same law-making powers as
the Council but also granted it the clout
to set Europe’s political direction. As indicated by the treaty’s transformations,
the Parliament chooses the leader of the Commission, the official body of the
EU, and this choice must mirror the consequences of the European decisions and,
in this manner, the voters’ decision” (Europa).

 It also was able to introduce the European citizens’ initiative which is basically
where the citizens can have a say in the decision-making process of the
parliament considering that the members were elected by universal suffrage.
This allows for transparency in what goes on in the EU, for example, interest groups can lobby around the
parliament with this transparency and sometimes influence the parliament to act
on behalf of what they support or favors them, or for the interest of the
society. The treaty allows it to have powers in 45 policy areas, “The most
important fields of expansion are Freedom, Security and Justice, the
coordination of social security for transient laborers, auxiliary assets,
culture, European organizations, and amendments to the Statute of the Court of
Justice, among others” (Juan Mayoral, (2011) pp. 2)

 

The
treaty has changed the structure of the European council deeming it as a proper
institution now, which shares the co-legislative powers with the European Parliament, and must consult the parliament
before final decisions are made. Whereas the European Council represents member states, so all in all during the decision
making both sides and interests are represented. The council has ministers from
each of the 28-member states, with rotating presidency. The Europa website
states that “The Lisbon Treaty formally recognizes the European Council as an
EU institution, responsible for providing the Union with the ‘impetus necessary
for its development’ and for defining its ‘general political directions and
priorities’. The European Council has no legislative functions.
A long-term presidency replaces the previous system of six-month rotation.
The President is elected by a qualified majority of the European Council for a
renewable term of 30 months. This should improve the continuity and
coherence of the European Council’s work. The President also represents the
Union externally, without prejudice to the duties of the High Representative of
the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy” (europarl.europa.eu).

What other changes will the treaty bring? Regarding
exclusive competences of the EU “The
Lisbon Treaty for the first time clarifies the powers of the Union. It distinguishes
three types of competencies: exclusive
competence, where the Union alone can legislate, and the Member States only implement a shared competence,
where they can legislate and adopt legally binding measures if the Union has
not done so, and supporting competence, where the EU adopts measures to support
or complement Member States’ policies. Union competences can now be handed back
to the Member States in the course of a treaty revision” (Europa). In the Lisbon treaty, the distribution
of competences in various policy reaps between member states and the union is
stated in the following categories:

1.The customs union

2.The establishment of competition
rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market

3.Monetary policy for those using the
euro

 

As Jiri
krcek states” The post-2007 financial
crisis further revealed the serious weaknesses within European economic policy
coordination”, the financial crisis caused a doubt in the maintenance and
co-operation of the European Union states, for one the eurozone debt crisis
was really terrible for economy, where some countries defaulted on their debt
and the achievement of a governmental
supremacy has always laid at the heart of European
Union. “The
movements to the new decision-making process empowers the union to be more
capable and dynamic and putting it on a
more grounded balance for overseeing improvement and change, before the coming
Lisbon Treaty. It remains to an extraordinary degree a complex relationship, with
a mind-blowing number of fundamental strategies
and systems compelling its powers to act. The Eurozone
crisis includes the EU’s absence of the ability
to respond through its associations on troublesome areas, not entirely being
attributable to the time it would take to respond, and for the most part in
light of the absence of the ability to
take debatable decisions in a structure so stacked with a balanced
administration. This is an authentic peril to the EU’s future, and a more
grounded settlement or constitution will be relied upon to give the EU a future
which isn’t as complicated and problematic as it remains after Lisbon”(Ainsley
gilbert, 2011).

 

The Lisbon treaty has significantly brought major
changes to the European Union, in the decision-making
process, the powers of the institutions, it has reformed and deepened the
European integration and made the European Union
more democratic. It is one of the most important treaties signed by the EU as it has essentially developed and improved
the stature of the European integration
and granting the EU a fully-fledged legal
personality as an international performing actor, in all aspects regarding
political, cultural, social, and economic matters. As the treaty has sought to
reform the institutions of the European Union
in general. The treaty of Lisbon has been considered as the constitution since it lays the rules, regulations, and principles for how
decision making to be carried out. Also “The
Treaty of Lisbon provides more clarity on how the EU can manage the negotiation on international
treaties. The process should be led by the European Commission or the high representative –not the member state of the
rotating presidency. the European Parliament
is also more engaged in the process, it could exert pressure on other EU institutions
to allow for a greater centralization of three unions representation in
negotiating international agreements” (Finn
Larsen pp. 279)

however, there is still a challenge that the
union faces which is a democratic deficit, because unlike national states the European Union
cannot be expected to be as democratic as the EU.
So, there is still a large step it needs
to take before achieving that status “a democratic union”. As stated by skach Cindy (2005) “The
European Union is by no means the only organization
with a democratic deficit; national, regional and local organizations are also suffering this problem. However, a lack of
common European identity between member states’ citizens compounds this problem
into one which could, at some point, erupt into something which leads to
questions about its future. A new treaty is needed to reform the democratic
functioning of Europe in order to create ‘measurable outputs’, rather than just
continue to tinker with an existing framework, which has proved itself weak.

 

The powers the Lisbon treaty
delegated to the European Parliament, however,
have increased the democracy of the European
Union with regards to the European citizens’ initiative and lobbying also.
“What we can say is that post-Lisbon
integration will be slightly more comprehensible since there will be no
‘European Community’ and no pillars. But Lisbon does not offer a complete
definition of what the Union will be. Obviously,
it will be a body based on history, principles, values, treaties and the
specific powers and functions conferred on it by the member states. Hence it is
a body whose nature and existence aren’t taken for granted compared to a nation-state. As
a result, there is more in Lisbon on aims than is usually the case with
national constitutions. In fact, as a polity, or governance system, the EU is
defined by the treaties and what it does. It cannot, in other words, just ‘be’
as can a nation” (Clive H. Church, David Hannelore, 2010 pg. 23).

 

 

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