EU leaders sign reform treaty Mike Rosen-Molina at 3:10 PM ET
[JURIST] Leaders from the 27 countries that make up the European Union on Thursday signed [press release] the Treaty of Lisbon [official website; PDF text], a reform treaty designed to speed up the decision-making process within EU institutions and allow EU members to take a more active role in global issues. Under the terms of the treaty, the current EU presidency which is rotated among member states will be replaced in 2009 with a long-term president of the Council of the European Union, and the position of an EU foreign policy high representative will be created. A charter of fundamental European rights [EU materials] is also included. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso praised the treaty Thursday and called on all member states to quickly ratify the document [speech text, in French; press release].
The signing marks the end of a long and arduous negotiation process. EU leaders reached agreement on the text [JURIST report] of the proposed treaty at a summit [EU materials] in Lisbon in October, working through last minute objections by Poland and Italy. The treaty text was preliminarily approved [JURIST report] by EU legal experts earlier that month. EU leaders reached basic agreement [JURIST report] on the treaty itself in June; it is, in effect, a cut-down version of the failed European constitution [JURIST news archive]. The original draft constitution did not receive unanimous approval among all EU states. Voters in France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] rejected the proposal in national referenda in 2005. Only Ireland is planning to hold a referendum on the current treaty. Reuters has more. BBC News has additional coverage.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.