Wednesday 25 June 2008

Lisbon Treaty: Summit analysis

The European Policy Centre (EPC) has given its assessment of the June 2008 European Council. ‘Post-Summit Analysis: A time to heal’, dated 23 June 2008, is available at:

Much of the compact four pages are dedicated to the Treaty of Lisbon, because the Irish referendum No overshadowed many important subjects at the European Council.

Here are few of the observations:

The EPC paper notes that 76 per cent of the Irish No voters thought that rejecting the Lisbon Treaty would allow Ireland to renegotiate it from scratch and from a stronger position “an option now explicitly excluded by its EU partners”.

The EPC remarks that the referendum result has highlighted once again a fundamental problem for the EU: while policies must increasingly be adopted above the national level (by the Union itself, as well as other multilateral bodies) to be effective, politics still operates at the national (or even sub-national) level – thus creating recurrent short-circuits and feedback effects.

Therefore the EPC draws the conclusion that if a pragmatic solution is found to ‘fix’ Lisbon, it will then probably be necessary to consider how to involve the citizens in both EU politics and policies more credibly, starting with the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament. Otherwise, anti-EU populism is likely to take root all over the Union and increasingly affect the functioning of institutions and policies – with unpredictable consequences.


The EPC’s endorsement of democratic EU reform concurs with the position of this blog, although it would be better to pledge the reform essentials during the ratification of the substance of the Lisbon Treaty and in time for the second referendum, should Ireland want to arrange one.

EU citizens choosing their leaders and setting the course, these are the needed reforms, more important than the Lisbon Treaty.

Ralf Grahn

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