Lisbon (European Treaty of)
EU leaders signed the new Reform Treaty in Lisbon on October 18th 2007. It does not replace previous treaties but amends them in order to simplify the workings of the enlarged 27-nation Union.
The treaty includes several major innovations:
A stable, two-and-a-half year presidency (rather than a six-month rotating presidency) and a streamlined European Commission
Instituting majority votes in some policy areas, including criminal justice, judicial and police cooperation
Increasing the role of national parliaments in the decision-making process
Creating a High Union Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with his or her own diplomatic service
Giving legal force to the Charter of Fundamental Rights
Allowing citizen initiatives, enabling a million citizens to ask the Commission to submit a proposal.
The Lisbon Treaty will enter in force on January 1, 2009, after its ratification by Member States, either by their parliaments or by referendum.
Both houses of the French Parliament voted the ratification on February 8th, 2008.