What is the Lisbon Treaty?

25 January 2016

The Lisbon Treaty (2007) was the culmination of a long process concerned eventually with rationalising the existing treaties. It led to two treaties, the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Treaty on European Union sets out the EU Institutions and the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The latter is subject to only weak supranational disciplines with the Commission and the European Parliament only marginally involved and the Court of Justice excluded from any significant power of review. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union sets out all the other policies of the European Union, the legislative procedures to be adopted and details the powers of the different Institutions. Probably the biggest winners from the Lisbon Treaty were parliaments. The European Parliament acquired significant new powers through the extension of the ordinary legislative procedure. Groups of national parliaments also secured the power to require the Commission and, in some instances, the other EU Institutions to reconsider legislative initiatives. One of the ambitions of the British Government in the current negotiations is to transform this power into one which allows groups of national parliaments to block legislative initiatives. 

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