Under the chairmanship of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the 27-nation EU finally has a deal on a new reform treaty. This replaces the defunct draft constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. That left the bloc tied in knots, in what was widely referred to as a crisis of confidence over the enlarged Union’s future.
At the conclusion of a summit of all the leaders, Socrates said: “I hope that this institutional model will last a long time and that the name ‘Treaty of Lisbon’ lasts a long time also.”
Even Poland’s ruling Kaczinski twins were happy.
Warsaw won a guarantee that a provision for small groups of states to delay EU decisions could only
be overturned by unanimity. The Poles were also promised a permanent advocate-general’s job at the European Court of Justice.
Italy was spared a loss of face over its representation in the European Parliament —although Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Rome would not have blocked the treaty on this account.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, brandishing a clutch of concessions for the UK, ruled out further EU institutional reform for the foreseeable future.
Like the UK, Ireland also opted out of EU policy in home affairs, notably in police and judicial co-operation.