French Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet said the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty is a priority for all three presidencies. In the meantime, France, the Czech Republic and Sweden are determined to ensure the continuity of European policies. Jouyet hinted that he expected the Lisbon Treaty to enter into force during the Swedish Presidency.
"We hope and we wish for our Swedish friends that this [starting the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty] happens during their presidency, which follows the European elections and coincides with the renewal of the European Commission," Jouyet said.
But his colleagues avoided making any reference to timing regrading the EU's new treaty. Swedish European Affairs Minister Cecilia Malmström preferred to focus on strengthening the role of Europe "independently of what treaty the Union has".
"Last week's events have shown that Europe must find increased tools to work together and this is something that will be very important for the coming months and years," said Malmström.
For his part, Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Alexandr Vondra was challenged by questions about his country's determination to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. The Czech Deputy Prime Minister explained that the Lisbon Treaty was currently being considered by the Czech Constitutional Court (EurActiv 01/09/08) and it was not up to the Government to impose time limits on the court. However, he said he expected a decision in the autumn and the debate would then come back to the Parliament. There, he said, a majority of three fifths would be required in both the House and the Senate.
"We are not here to make your life more difficult, don't be afraid," said Vondra, amid laughs in the chamber.
Each speaker made a short presentation of the joint "trio presidencies'" programme, thus revealing national priorities and preferences. Vondra stressed issues such as energy security, especially in the context of the current Georgia crisis, as well as the Eastern partnership initiative (EurActiv 26/05/08), upgrading transatlantic relations following the US elections and keeping the EU's door open to the Western Balkans. Malmström put more emphasis on the energy and climate package and the Lisbon Strategy for economic, social and environmental renewal.
Although the present version of the "trio presidencies'" programme appears to have been amended slightly following the negative Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, some passages, such as one on page 65, still mention that the new treaty is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2009.