The Lisbon Treaty went to the core of European identity - democracy, rule law, rights and liberties for all, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said in the Plenary of the European Parliament which on 18 December debated the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Von der Leyen reminded how the Lisbon Treaty gave centre stage to the European citizens. “It has brought more power to the European Parliament. It has called national parliaments to the forefront. And it has given to the European citizens the right to call on the Commission to propose legislation”, she said.
The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the 27 EU Member States on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It amends the Maastricht Treaty (1993) and the Treaty of Rome (1952).
In an effort to make the EU more democratic and more efficient, the Lisbon Treaty introduced some prominent changes, for example: the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in at least 45 policy areas in the Council of Ministers, a more powerful European Parliament forming a bicameral legislature alongside the Council of Ministers, and a consolidated legal personality for the EU.
Through the Treaty, posts of a long-term President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy were created. The Treaty also made the Union's bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, legally binding.
“The European Union is a perpetual construction. It is a choice to be renewed every day. And that is its beauty and its uniqueness”, von der Leyen said. In that regard, she stressed that the Treaty still had much more to offer and “for Europe to be even more efficient, stronger and more sovereign, it is now up to us to realize the full potential of Lisbon”.
She continued to put the European citizens at the focus of debate. “Europe is its citizens. This is why the Conference on the future of Europe must also be, and above all, their conference. We must respond to their concerns and their hopes. This is the greatest tribute we can pay to the Lisbon Treaty,” she concluded.