Sunday

25th Aug 2019

EU leaders aim to put treaty in place by 1 December

  • The treaty-making process took eight years (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The EU's new set of institutional rules may come into force in just over a month, ending a marathon stretch of treaty-making that took eight years, included a series of referendums and resulted in an ungainly text littered with footnotes, protocols and opt-outs.

"The Lisbon Treaty will enter into force doubtless as early as December 1," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after a summit of EU leaders on Friday (30 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The breakthrough came after member states managed to agree to a last-minute demand by Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

The deal - exempting Prague from a rights charter in the treaty - paves the way for Mr Klaus to sign the pact, a move that will allow it to go into force across the 27 member states of the European Union.

The Czech president can only sign after 3 November, the day when the Czech constitutional court is due to give its verdict on whether Lisbon is compatible with national law. The ruling is widely expected to come out in favour of the treaty, with a similar - though narrower - case also going the treaty's way last year.

Once the treaty-opposing Czech president puts pen to paper - and EU leaders remain wary of his unpredictability - the race to fill the posts created by the treaty will begin in earnest. The president of the European Council and the foreign minister - two new jobs - as well as the line up of the next European Commission are set to be decided at an extraordinary summit in November.

Shrugs and speculation

The new posts have been the subject of frenzied speculation in the media in the run-up to the October summit and in the corridors during the summit itself.

Although there is an impatience to move ahead with nominations, EU leaders effectively agreed to gag themselves until the Czech situation is clear.

But heavy hints, eloquent shrugs and pregnant silences by leaders over the last two days would appear to indicate that the post of foreign minister should go to a socialist and that British ex-prime minister Tony Blair, long talked about as the first possible EU president, will not get the job.

For his part, Mr Sarkozy said he was in "agreement" with his German counterpart Angela Merkel that they would "have the same vision and support the same candidate" for the presidency post.

The two countries acting together are likely to determine whether the job will be largely administrative or carry real international clout.

But even if the date line for the treaty appears to be clearer, things are less certain for the European Commission, whose current mandate runs out on 31 October. From 1 November onwards it will have caretaker status, only able to execute day-to-day affairs.

The new commission is unlikely to be put into place before January next year, as each commissioner will be subject to a hearing in parliament to assess their suitability for the post. It is not out of the question that there will be controversy over one or other candidate, which could delay the process. Once this procedure is finished, the entire college needs to be approved by parliament in a plenary session.

Investigation

US billionaires funding EU culture war

Conservative US billionaires, some with links to Trump, are paying anti-abortion lobbyists in Europe tens of millions of dollars to shape policy and law.

Investigation

The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade

Around 30 members of European Economic Social Committee, who live and work primarily in Brussels or nearby, have claimed €1.47m in a 'daily subsistence' allowance from European taxpayers to cover accommodation, food and local transport for meetings held in Brussels.

Exclusive

Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

The German former secretary-general of the European Commission held some 21 meetings which were registered in the lobby register. But no documents appeared to exist summarising what was said.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us