Lisbon Treaty Will Not Create a European Superpower

Lisbon Treaty Will Not Create a European Superpower

This year, the leaders of the European Union likely will become preoccupied with securing ratification of the Lisbon Reform Treaty, which their heads of state and government signed on Dec. 13, 2007. The aim of the treaty is to strengthen Europe's ability to advance its internal and external objectives. Despite surface appearances, the new arrangements, if adopted, will not radically enhance Europe's status as an international security actor.

The Treaty of Lisbon, also known as the Reform Treaty, aims to restructure the EU's core institutions in response to two fundamental changes in recent years. First, from April 2004 to January 2007, the EU expanded from 15 to 27 members, necessitating an overhaul of its complex and often painfully slow decision-making machinery. Second, existing EU institutions have found it difficult to manage several 21st-century foreign and security challenges -- globalization, climate change, energy shortages, and new security threats such as terrorism and regional conflicts.

EU leaders finalized the text of the Lisbon Treaty in October, after years of wrangling and the collapse of their initial efforts to adopt an EU constitution. The Lisbon Treaty will not enter into force unless it is ratified by all 27 EU members, which EU leaders hope will occur by the end of 2008.

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