Tonnerre Lombard

FFII’s coordinator for Switzerland

European Union and the Lisbon Treaty: the birth of a new country

On December 13th, 2007, exactly 26 years after Poland called for martial law in 1981 in order to gain back control over the opposition, the European Union members have signed a treaty which became known as the Lisbon Treaty of 2007. This treaty practically establishes the European Union as a state of its own, along with a new constitution.

Most of the flaws which have been pointed out in the EU Constitution are also present in the Lisbon Treaty, but have not been addressed yet. As an example, the Lisbon Treaty contains provisions that the EU may go to war while individual member states may «constructively abstain» – thus being practically incapable of preventing having to go to war.

The Brussels Journal has an analysis of the contract by Professor Anthony Coughlan which enumerates 10 major changes the contract is making (while surely going too far to the Eurosceptic direction in suggesting that the harmonization effort in itself is wrong).

  1. It establishes a legally new European Union in the constitutional form of a supranational European State.
  2. It empowers this new European Union to act as a State vis-a-vis other States and its own citizens.
  3. It makes all citizens of European member states also citizens of this new European Union.
  4. The same name «European Union» will be kept while the Lisbon Treaty changes fundamentally the legal and constitutional nature of the Union.
  5. It creates a Union Parliament for the Union’s new citizens.
  6. It creates a Cabinet Government of the new Union.
  7. It creates a new Union political President.
  8. It creates a civil rights code for the new Union’s citizens.
  9. It makes national Parliaments subordinate to the new Union.
  10. It gives the new Union self-empowerment powers.

While the establishment of an European state is certainly a long-term goal to aim for, some elements of this treaty are still not acceptable. The current contract still contains some provisions which are not adequate for the constitution, and should be refined to meet the high democratic standards set by the member states.

The military cooperation charter a rather unfortunate chapter, remembering the controversy of the war against Iraq, which Germany and France chose to abstain. Would such a situation take place in the future, then Germany and France might be forced to participate in the war. This is of course one of the consequences of the harmonization process, but there should be provisions declaring that an unanimous decision is required in order to go to war – the only way to really justify it. An exception would of course be when an aggression against a member state has to be encountered.

This looks like yet another treaty which has not been balanced properly beforehand and needs a lot of further work before it will be adequate for the reason it was intended to.