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Ministers van Europese Zaken bespreken uitwerking Verdrag van Lissabon (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Spaans voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2010, gepubliceerd op woensdag 13 januari 2010.

Meeting of EU Ministers for European Affairs in La Granja (Segovia). Photo: Antonio de Torre.

The ministers for Europe of the 27 member states are meeting today and tomorrow in La Granja (Segovia) to deal with issues that the Spanish government believes need to be progressed by leading European politicians if citizens' expectations created by the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on December 1 last year after a long negotiation process, are to be met.

The full application of the new Treaty is one of the Spanish Presidency's main responsibilities. European citizens need to feel that the EU has entered a new era as soon as possible. The first ministerial meeting being held under the Spanish Presidency will therefore tackle this issue.

During Wednesday's meetings, the ministers will deal with four issues in particular, which have been newly introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon:

  • The popular legislative initiative: According to this new instrument for citizen participation, at least one million Europeans from a significant number of member states, can invite the Commission to formulate a legislative proposal on issues that they feel should be regulated at a European level. This is an essential instrument for giving citizens a say in European Union matters. The Spanish Presidency hopes to see this instrument of direct democracy for European citizens become a reality in the shortest possible timeframe. It will therefore promote European Parliament and Council approval of a regulation which will set the conditions and procedures required to progress this initiative, and will convene the Commission to present the corresponding proposal without delay.
  • The launch of the European External Action Service: This new European service is aimed at providing greater coherence and effectiveness to the EU's external action and will be formed of civil servants from the Commission, the Secretariat General of the Council and from member states. Taking the preparatory work described in the report by the Swedish Presidency to the European Council in October as a basis, it now falls to the Spanish Presidency to work alongside the High Representative in order to achieve the objective set by the Heads of State and of Government of the EU to approve the legislation required to establish it before the end of April 2010 and to ensure it is put into operation quickly, and the Spanish Presidency will therefore also cooperate closely with the Commission and the European Parliament.
  • The solidarity clause: The Treaty of Lisbon establishes the legal basis needed for member states and the EU to provide mutual assistance in the event of a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster. This is an innovative instrument which will contribute to strengthening the protection of European citizens. To develop it requires the joint proposal of the European Commission and the High Representative.
  • Ratifying the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe: Europe must be at the forefront of defending and promoting human rights. Following the mandate of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Spanish Presidency will initiate the EU's ratification process. This ratification reflects the commitment of the EU to respecting human rights and complements the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It will mean an additional safeguard to effectively protect rights. Taking the proposal which the Commission will present as a basis, the Spanish Presidency will move negotiations forward with the aim of reaching a consensus on formulas that respect the Community's specific characteristics and the sensibilities of all States.

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