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Lisbon Treaty: the main contents

Lisbon Treaty: the main contents
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Here are the main provisions in the EU treaty reforming the institutions and the system for taking common policy decisions among all the member states: The President of the European Council, which at present involves a country today serving as the EU presidency, will become an individual. The first is to be appointed in 2009, to serve a once-renewable two-and-a-half-year term.

The treaty also creates a new foreign policy chief with real ministerial powers, streamlines the European Commission to two thirds its current number of members and caps the number of seats in the parliament.

From 2014, the Council of the EU national ministers for specific policy areas would make qualified majority voting the extended standard procedure.

For most decisions to pass would require a double majority vote in favour of a proposal: a 55% majority of the member states representing a 65% majority of all citizens. Till then, and for a three-year transition period from then, voting weights set out in the Nice Treaty will apply.

The treaty gives binding force to an existing Charter of Fundamental Rights in all member states except Britain and Poland, which won opt-outs.

EU symbols such as the flag, the motto and the anthem are not made legally binding in the Treaty of Lisbon. However, all of them are already in use, and many EU countries have declared their attachment to these symbols in the new treaty.