The day after the signing of the Lisbon Treaty by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, se2009.eu meets Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Cecilia Malmström.
Why is it such a good thing that the Treaty of Lisbon can enter into force?
“The Treaty of Lisbon will make the EU more democratic and able to function better. The elected European Parliament and the national parliaments in the Member States will have more say. At the same time, it will become easier to reach decisions in a serious of issues concerning for example transboundary crime, agriculture policy and migration policy, as individual Member States will be less able to block decisions in areas where the EU wants to move forward. The Treaty of Lisbon is quite simply better suited to a Union that has expanded with twelve new Member States within the past five years.”
Yesterday, Czech President Vaclav Klaus signed the Treaty of Lisbon. Is everything done now?
“After a long and arduous process, all Member States have now signed the Treaty. However, some work remains. Our ambition is that the heads of state and government will appoint the top posts as soon as possible – a permanent President of the European Council and a High Representative for the EU’s foreign affairs policy.”
The Treaty enters into force on the first day of the month after the last Member State has handed in the instrument of ratification, the signed Treaty of Lisbon.
“It is quite clear that the Treaty of Lisbon will enter into force on 1 December.” “My Czech colleague is on his way to Rome to hand in the Czech Republic’s instrument of ratification. An extra meeting of the European Council must therefore be held in November.
New Commissioners must also be presented to, and approved by, the European Parliament. This work also includes taking a decision on new budgetary procedures and new working procedures for the European Council.”
What is the next step for the Presidency?
“These are busy days. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is now calling all his colleagues in the EU’s capitals to get an idea of whether or not it is possible to reach agreement on the various issues. He will shortly present a date for an extra meeting of the European Council.
“I myself am soon off to the European Parliament in Brussels to speak in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the visit is to report back on last week’s Council meeting, but I will naturally be asked questions about the Treaty of Lisbon as well.”
What does the Treaty of Lisbon mean for the EU’s relations with the rest of the world?
“We are creating a new European external relations service with EU delegations around the world, and the EU’s High Representative will be given a weightier role, by for example shouldering the role of Vice President of the European Commission. This means that the conditions for pursuing an integrated foreign policy will be much improved.”