Lisbon mission accomplished? Not yet…

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

“Even if the Lisbon Treaty enters into force by early 2010 […], there still are grey areas to clarify and pending issues to address, from the residual/resilient role of the rotational EU presidency to the status and shape of the European External Action Service,” write Janis Emmanouilidis and Antonio Missiroli of the European Policy Centre (EPC) in an October paper.

“The Irish ‘yes’ to the Lisbon Treaty is good news for Europe,” argue Emmanouilidis and Missiroli, describing it as “an important step towards the treaty’s entry into force”.

“The Lisbon Treaty might not be perfect […] but it includes numerous innovations which can enhance the efficiency, transparency and legitimacy of the enlarged EU,” they write.

However, “ratification is still pending in two member states: Poland and the Czech Republic,” the analysts warn. “The Irish and (most likely) Polish decisions will increase the pressure on [Czech President Václav Klaus] to sign – although his reaction to external pressures remains unpredictable at this stage,” they explain.

It is “difficult to imagine what pressures could be exerted – beyond moral suasion – to persuade [Klaus] to sign,” the authors muse.

The EPC paper points out that if Lisbon is not ratified by all 27 member states before the next UK elections (due by June 2010), the Lisbon Treaty could face the risk of a British referendum if the Conservatives win the elections.

“Time is short: the EU must decide very soon on the composition of the next European Commission, as the current College’s mandate expires on 31 October,” the authors explain.

“Even with Václav Klaus’s signature on the treaty, in other words, the transition phase will not be over. The forthcoming Spanish – and possibly also Belgian – presidencies in 2010 already have their work cut out,” they conclude. 

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