Yesterday marked a great step forward for practical equality between citizens of the European Union. Formally, the principle of equal treatment applied as long as the Council published no consolidated language versions of the Treaty of Lisbon.
But in practice national consolidations were available only in a number of languages. As far as we were able to ascertain, there were readable versions in most of the widely spoken languages within the European Union.
These are rough guesses, because we can not be sure that the information we managed to gather was conclusive: Perhaps six out of ten EU citizens could find a readable version of the Lisbon Treaty in their own language, but a consolidated version was available in less than half of the treaty languages.
By finally publishing the Treaty of Lisbon in the 23 treaty languages, the Council filled a considerable void. Millions of European citizens can now read, debate, study and teach the amending treaties in their main language without unnecessary trouble.
The Council of the European Union issued a note to the reader stating that the publication is ‘provisional in nature’. If errors crop up during the ratification stage, these have to be corrected (Council cover note, document 6655/08).
What about this blog?
My aim has been to advance through the treaties as they stand if the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force. Until now it has been possible to progress one Article a day, without exceptions, and hopefully this can continue.
Even if this blog is written in English, something changes when readers with another main language can refer to a consolidated version in their own language.
Somehow, I feel that it would be natural to outline the future posts a little differently from now on. These thoughts are ‘provisional in nature’, so tell me if you have ideas:
First, the basic element would be “a slice of salami”, one treaty Article (a day) as consolidated. This means that redundant or fairly insignificant provisions are treated as well, at least superficially. A headline, more or less accurate, may help you to find what you are looking for.
Second, a look at the possible changes made by the intergovernmental conference would follow. Most of the internal policy areas remain largely unchanged, but that does not prevent anyone from trying to understand the treaty provisions the policies are based on.
Third, the preceding treaty reform stages, namely the current treaty, the draft Constitution and the Constitutional Treaty, would be presented either through comments or by offering the text of the provision.
Fourth, depending on the circumstances there may be more or less objective comments, subjective opinions or suggestions for further reading (in the general area under study).
This is how the next leg of the journey looks like, after the publication of the consolidated Lisbon Treaty in the 23 treaty languages.