A lot has been said about EU institutional reform, but what does the Lisbon Treaty change for European Union citizens? How can they expect it to affect them? Euronews asked passers-by in Brussels.
They said: “We’ll have a president, and, I think, a unified European foreign affairs policy, won’t we? That’s about all I know.” “Nothing changes, as far as I’m concerned. I guess it’s a contract for the future, to keep Europe strong.” “If it’s going to help, sort of improve the economical situation in Europe, I think it will be beneficial, because we will, compared to earlier stages of the European Union, we will get a little bit more organised.” The treaty adds to the rights of ordinary Europeans. One of the notable novelties is the possibility for them to directly initiate legislation. A million signatures on a petition would compel the European Commission to formally propose their law request for adoption across the Union. Analyst Janis Emmanouilidis talked about the confidence-building side of the text’s ratification: “We need this new treaty in order to send a signal of trust to citizens. Because we worked on the constitutional treaty, on the Lisbon treaty for years, almost a decade, and if the EU wouldn’t have gotten this new treaty this would had be a strong sign of defeat.” A common rule book for policy-setting was agreed in the end, by 27 countries (in spite of some reservations), designed to make their functioning more efficient. What will it change? Using it will tell.