EU Leaders Ink New Treaty
October 19, European Union leaders finalized the text of the Lisbon Treaty, previously known as the EU reform treaty. The document is scheduled to be signed at the next session of the European Council, on December 13. This replacement for the failed European Constitution is set to take effect in 2009, pending ratification by all member states.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “While the Lisbon Treaty lacks the national anthem and other trappings that helped make the constitution a little too transnationally unifying for voters in some countries, its main goal is the same: greater political power that could harness the EU’s economic prowess and give the bloc more global influence” (October 19).
The constitution foundered in 2005 after Dutch and French voters rejected it in referendums. And though EU bureaucrats have toned down its language, in reality the Lisbon Treaty functions as a cloaked constitution. With a Parliament-elected EU president, an EU “foreign minister” and a more efficient voting system, it could unify the EU as never before.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is desperately trying to convince the British people that the Lisbon Treaty is just “a modest piece of housekeeping,” and that it is too complex for a referendum (Economist.com, October 19). Approximately 70 percent of Britons support a referendum.
Many Britons do not want the EU to increase its power over them. This may prove to be the critical stumbling block for the Lisbon Treaty’s ratification—or the final argument that edges Britain out of the European Union.