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Reinfeldt hails first day of EU's Lisbon Treaty

AFP/The Local · 1 Dec 2009, 09:57

Published: 01 Dec 2009 09:57 GMT+01:00

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Among other things, the treaty created the post of EU president and a foreign policy supremo for the first time.

"Today EU citizens are heading into a new era. Today is the first day for a more efficient, more modern and more democratic EU, for all citizens," said Reinfeldt, whose country retains the old-style rotating European Union presidency until the end of the year.

The treaty, drawn up to replace the EU's failed constitution, is designed to streamline the workings of an expanding bloc which now encompasses half a billion people and counts one third of the world's total economic production.

Its entry into force, after ratification by all 27 member states, meets their demands "for transparency, democracy and efficiency," Reinfeldt added in a statement.

He was later to attend a celebration of the Lisbon treaty's passage in the Portuguese capital where it was first signed, ending many years of institutional navel-gazing in the EU.

The new EU president, former Belgian PM Herman Van Rompuy will also be there along with Britain's Catherine Ashton who becomes the bloc's foreign policy chief.

Both were chosen by EU leaders at a summit earlier this month, though some observers have criticised the choice of two relatively-low profile candidates to lead Europe into its new era.

The appointment of a more permanent EU president -- who may serve for a maximum two terms of two-and-a-half years, "will provide continuity in the work of the heads of state and government and represent the EU in meetings with countries outside the Union," said Reinfeldt.

Ashton's beefed-up foreign and security policy role will mean Europe "can better prevent conflicts and also improve our peace support operations and make them more effective," he added.

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The British peer takes over from Spaniard Javier Solana, the EU's veteran foreign policy high representative, but with a wider mandate and a large new secretariat underneath her.

"We are now making the EU stronger by building better institutions for dealing with foreign policy, both locally in countries around the world and in Brussels. This also gives Europe increased weight," said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in a separate statement.

However The Swedish EU presidency said it was misleading to call high representative Ashton "the EU's foreign minister," stressing that "the policies pursued towards third countries and in international cooperation will still be the result of an extensive process of coordination between the 27 member states."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:45 December 1, 2009 by unkle strunkle
Welcome to the United(?) States of Europe.

19:53 December 1, 2009 by explodp
A sad day for the proud Europeans who fought Nazism and the USSR. Although it took a long time the USSR collapsed and we all know the outcome. It seems the ideal of a European superstate has arrived by default. I just wonder how many Europeans actually voted for this?

Oh, second time round it was just the Irish........ twice..... after all, they got the answer wrong first time.

Democracy - no chance!
03:25 December 2, 2009 by Davey-jo
I have to say that nobody mentioned the Lisbon Treaty to me today. Not even the usually pro-europe BBC. I suspect that Lisbon will be forgotten as a bad dream; something that seemed like a good idea but was not really worth the bother.

For example there is no way the UK is going to accept any more European directives whatsoever. I mean the government may sign up for them but just like in France ,Prussia and Italy they will lie unimplemented. European federalism is a complete non-starter because governments cannot even control their own countries.

The predicted future government of UK is aligned to some crazy right-wing groupuscules from the Baltic states. It's not going to be interested in a bigger Europe at all. I think they accurately reflect UK feelings towards the EU.

I feel that anti EU feelings run deeper than may be shown in official views of EU governments. I do not see the current alliance between France and Prussia lasting very long. When it falls apart everything is up for grabs. This is the old British divide Europe and rule syndrome once again. It worked before it can work again.
11:11 December 27, 2009 by Hagen
Strange is it not that you have a Prime Minister championing your loss of Freedom, because that is what the Lisbon Treaty is.

The EU is now a Sovereign State and your Country is obliged to give the EU precedence in decisions.

The EU can dissolve all Parliaments if it wishes and form a Superstate ( will probably happen before long)

Did you ever get to have your say on the Lisbon Treaty ?? If not then you must start asking your Politicians, why not ?
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