The Lisbon Treaty and its effects on GASP and GSVP

Arnold Kammel und Dietmar Pfarr


The development of the Lisbon Treaty was long and difficult. Originally, in December 2001 a convention was established by the heads of state and government in the European Council in Laeken, which was supposed to draw up a fundamental reform to enhance legal capacity. On 18th June 2003 the results were submitted to the European Council as constitution draft by the president of the convention, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Afterwards a government conference was summoned on 4th October, which aimed at drawing up a European constitution until the European elections in June 2004. At the meeting of the heads of state and government on 17th and 18th June 2004 an accord was reached on it. This set of rules was signed as the „Treaty on a Constitution for Europe“ on 29th October in Rome. On 29th May and 1st June 2005 the treaty was rejected in the course of national referendums in France and the Netherlands. After a phase of reflection of one year the heads of state and government of the Union passed a mandate for another government conference aiming at a reform of the Treaty. On 23rd July 2007 a first draft was submitted, which was accepted as a constitution draft during the meeting of the heads of state and government on 18th October 2007. On 12th December 2007 it was signed in Lisbon as the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty was to come into effect on 1st January 2009. Unlike the Treaty on a Constitution for Europe, the Lisbon Treaty was ratified in all member nations according to their national guidelines. This meant that all national parliaments except Ireland signed the treaty. In Ireland the necessary referendum took place on 12th June 2008; at the referendum with a voter turnout of 51% the Treaty was rejected by more than 53% of the Irish. After legal guarantees concerning the issues “right to life, family and education”, “taxation” and “security and defence” had been promised in the course of the meeting of the heads of state and government on 18th and 19th June 2009, the Irish people voted a second time on the Lisbon Treaty. This time 67,1% voted for and 32,9% against the Treaty. After this positive result the Polish president Kaczynski signed the Treaty, too, as he had announced before, but on 29th September 2009 Czech representatives filed a constitutional action against the Lisbon Treaty with the Czech constitutional court. After the court had passed its sentence, the Treaty was signed by the Czech president Vaclav Klaus on 12th December 2009. Thus the way was paved for the Lisbon Treaty to come into effect on 1st January 2010. The roles of the parliament and of the European Commission will largely remain limited in spite of cosmetic modifications, and the common foreign and security policy as well as the common security and defence policy will remain structured intergovernmentally. The common foreign and security policy with its special regulations will remain independent. The European Council will be the main protagonist of GASP and GSVP. The mutual assistance commitment and the solidarity clause are to be assessed as improvements, but their formative influence will be limited because of the reference to the nature of the common security and defence policies of various member states. TheUnion has not been transformed automatically to a global security-political protagonist by the Lisbon Treaty, but it creates both the legal and the institutional prerequisites for reach this objective.