[JURIST] The European Union (EU) reform treaty, known as the Treaty of Lisbon [EU materials; JURIST news archive] went into effect [press release] Tuesday after more than two years of negotiations. The Treaty, which was ratified by all 27 member-states of the EU, was crafted to make the EU more democratic, transparent, and efficient, to more effectively promote and protect the values of the Union through promulgation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights [text, PDF], and to increase the EU's role as a global actor. Within the framework of the Treaty, Herman Van Rompuy [BBC profile] will officially take office as the EU's first president in January. President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso [official profile] said, "[t]he Treaty of Lisbon puts citizens at the centre of the European project. I'm delighted that we now have the right institutions to act and a period of stability, so that we can focus all our energy on delivering what matters to our citizens."
Efforts to ratify the treaty in all 27 EU member states, as required for approval, had faced opposition. The Czech Republic was the last country to ratify [JURIST report] the Treaty, approving the document last month after being granted a opt-out clause. Poland and Ireland [JURIST reports] approved the treaty in October, but only after certain guarantees were made by the EU. Germany ratified [JURIST report] the treaty in September.