Monday, 23 March 2009

Lisbon Treaty implementation: State of play

This is the information Europe Direct has provided today with regard to my questions to the Council and the Commission on preparatory work for the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon:

“In reply to your questions please note the following information provided by the Secretariat General of the European Commission:

a) Preparatory work on the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty

- Council & European Council

" On 13 June 2008, the Slovenian Presidency circulated a progress report on preparatory work in view of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. This report gives an overview of the work undertaken under the chairmanship of the Slovenian Presidency, recalling that no decision can be taken whilst the ratification process is still underway.

" The European Council took note of this progress report, which briefly summarises discussions of Permanent Representatives on a number of implementation issues: citizens' initiative, data protection, advocates-general, consultative panel for nomination of judges, delegated and implementing acts, transition to co-decision, committee structures in the area of Justice and Home Affairs, budget for 2009 and budget procedure, inter-institutional programming, rules of procedure of European Council and Council, European External Action Service, chairmanship of preparatory bodies in the area of external relations, and issues relating to the General Affairs Council.

- European Commission

" The European Commission has been taking part in Coreper/Council discussions on preparatory work. It has also undertaken its own internal reflection on a number of issues, especially where new initiatives of the Commission are required, such as the Citizens' Initiative or the framework regulation on implementing acts. President Barroso has presented the Commission's approach on implementation issues and more particularly institutional and external relations aspects in April 2008.

" The Commission has always paid careful attention to the balance between the need to avoid seeming to anticipate a Treaty still in the process of ratification, and prudent preparation for the scenario of its implementation. After the Irish no-vote, the preparatory work has been out somewhat on hold.

- European Parliament

" The European Parliament has been working on several reports, mainly:

• Dehaene (PPE-DE/BE) report on the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the development of the institutional balance in the EU

• Leinen (PSE/DE) report on the Parliament's new role and responsibilities implementing the Treaty of Lisbon

• Brok (PPE-DE/DE) report on the institutional aspects of creating a European service for external action

• Brok (PPE-DE/DE) report on the development of the relations between the European Parliament and the national parliaments under the Lisbon Treaty

• Guy-Quint (PSE/FR) report on the financial and budgetary aspects of the Lisbon Treaty

• Corbett (PSE/UK) report on the general review of the Rules of Procedure

• Kaufmann (GUE-NGL/DE) report on the implementation of the European Citizens' initiative

• Grabowska (PSE/PL) report on the perspectives for developing the civil dialogue under the Lisbon Treaty

• Wielowieyski (ex-Geremek) (ALDE/PL) report on communicating on and gaining the citizens' support for the Treaty of Lisbon

" For information on the content of these reports and the state of play, please consult the Website of the European Parliament :

b) and c) Coming changes to the Commission's Rules of Procedure and planned interinstitutional agreements

Changes and plans not available for the moment.

We hope the above information will be of help to you.

With kind regards,
EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre”



I am grateful for the reply. A few comments about the substance of the information provided.


European Council and Council

As we see, no new information has been disclosed about preparations within the European Council and the Council after the Slovenian report to the June 2008 European Council.

These have been presented and discussed on this blog, as have later conclusions and declarations of the European Council concerning limited aspects.

There is no new substance about work in progress.



The Commission does not deny discussing and reflecting, but it offers nothing of substance. Is it prudent to exclude public discussion?


European Parliament

The European Parliament is the only institution, which has shown willingness to prepare its views publicly (but only a few days ago it was reported that the EP is going to put the work on hold). The European Parliament should press ahead in order to adopt resolutions.

The Dehaene, Leinen, Brok (on parliaments) and Corbett reports have been presented on this blog, as well as the Duff report on the European elections.

This blog will gladly turn to the reports on budgetary matters (Guy-Quint and Böge), when it advances to the financial provisions. But they may be of interest to readers before that.

The Kaufmann, Grabowska and Wielowieyski deal with matters, which are of interest to citizens and MEP candidates. These issues may reappear again during our continued progress through the Treaty of Lisbon, although various aspects of these questions have been discussed earlier.


Rules of Procedure

The Commission gave no information about its Rules of Procedure or planned interinstitutional agreements.

Nothing was mentioned with regard to the Council, which needs to amend its Rules of Procedure, or about the European Council, which needs new ones. Neither were interinstitutional agreements mentioned.


All in all, with the possible exception of the European Parliament (until a few days ago), the EU institutions seem to more inclined to adopt ‘omertà’ than to encourage public discussion.

Yes, the reply was instructive in that regard.

Ralf Grahn