Thursday, 29 November 2018

What will life after 'Lisbon' be like?

By Lucie Tvarůžková |
Hospodářské noviny |
20 February 2009

Czech lower house endorsed the Lisbon Treaty. (ČTK)

What changes will the Lisbon Treaty bring to the EU? (ČTK)What changes will the Lisbon Treaty bring to the EU? (ČTK)

The Lisbon Treaty will bring about a number of changes mainly concerning the power distribution of individual EU institutions. Only a couple of the changes, however, will register with an ordinary citizen. HN brings you their list.

What will be the most obvious change after the Lisbon Treaty?

The EU will be represented by one person that of the European Council president in the world. Currently, it is the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the member states rotating in this position every six months. Many foreign partners are confused by this. Already the US Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger asked for a single phone number for Europe. Potential candidates for the position include Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Will the Czech Republic lose its commissioners?

The treaty suggests to lower the number of commissioners and for the countries to rotate in these positions. This makes sense: How many times have you heard about the Commissioner for Multilingualism? This change, however, is no longer certain mainly because of the Irish who demanded a promise that the number of EU Commissioners will not be changed in the near future. The Czech presidency should now solve this problem and ensure the treaty will both be valid and yet not so much, to satisfy all.

How different is the text from that of the EU constitution rejected by the French and the Dutch?

The treaty is only slightly different. The documents are identical in almost 97%. The correspondence of the two documents is so obvious also due to the fact that the official version of the Lisbon Treaty is an incomprehensible collection of various words, fragments and sentences amending the previous EU contracts.

Who will profit?

The official version says we all will. THe EU will modernise, become faster and more effective. Not all of us will profit on the same level, though. It is mainly the big states who will profit since it will be somewhat easier for them to push through their opinions. The European Parliament should also celebrate as it will have a greater say in European legislature.

Will the Czech Republic turn into a powerless EU pendant?

Václav Klaus can remain calm; it will not. It will still be necessary for all the member states to agree on what will be happening inside the EU. And the most important sectors, such as security, defence, foreign policy or taxes, will require a unanimous agreement. It is true, however, that some 40 sectors will newly only require a qualified majority (energy, immigration, social policy, etc.). States in support of a minority standpoint will still be able to take advantage of some tools preventing their overruling.

What are the main weak points?

The treaty is very abstract and vague and so many issues will require explanation in practice and this might cause a great number of disputes. Even the competences of the new EU president remain unclear.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.