The Lisbon Treaty

The Lisbon Treaty

The main objectives of the Lisbon Treaty are to increase the democratic accountability of the EU’s decision making process and to equip the Union with the tools it needs to help us deal with the challenges posed by an enlarged Union and a fast-changing global environment.

A particularly innovative provision in the Lisbon Treaty is the European Citizens’ Initiative. It has been agreed that the European Commission will be obliged to consider drafting a new EU law if so requested by at least one million EU citizens drawn from one quarter or more of the EU Member States.

On 2 October 2009, the Irish people voted by a 2:1 margin to ratify the Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009. A full explanation of the Lisbon Treaty is set out in the Government’s White Paper.

The European Union Act 2009 provides for the application of the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland, including the enhanced role afforded to the Oireachtas in the EU decision-making process.

The Lisbon Debate

The Lisbon Treaty debate in Ireland encompassed two referendums and an in-depth public debate. 

Following the first Lisbon referendum in June 2008, the Government commissioned comprehensive research to clarify the reasons underlying the ‘No’ vote. In light of the ‘Yes’ vote in the second Lisbon referendum in October 2009 – and using the 2008 research as a benchmark – the Department of Foreign Affairs commissioned follow-up research in order to identify the lessons learned from the two referendum campaigns.

The report Attitudes and Behaviour in the Second Referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon was prepared by the Geary Institute and School of Politics and International Relations (UCD).