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Briefing on Lisbon Treaty 2009

Social Justice Ireland have publshed a briefing on the Lisbon Treaty. We offer this briefing as a contribution to the current debate as people inform themselves on the issues in preparation to vote in the Referendum on June 12, 2008.

On June 12th, 2008 Irish people will again have their say on a European Treaty. Ireland is the only country of the 27 Member States in the EU holding a referendum on this Treaty.

This Policy Briefing on the Lisbon Treaty seeks to provide a short summary of the key proposals contained in the 271-page treaty.
In response to requests from our members CORI Justice is continuing its tradition of publishing a briefing in advance of the referendum as was done on each of the European Treaties. We offer this Briefing as a contribution to the current debate as people inform themselves on the issues in preparation to vote.

We never recommend how people should cast their vote but we strongly believe that people should vote.

The Lisbon Treaty is the latest in a series of treaties stretching back to the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that established the European Community.

The Merger Treaty came into force on July 1, 1967 and provided for a single Commission and a single Council of the then three European Communities.

The Single European Act came into force on July 1 1987and provided for the adjustments required to achieve the internal market.

This was followed by the Maastricht Treaty which came into force on November 1, 1993. It changed the title to the European Community and introduced new forms of co-operation between the Member States.

Next up was the Amsterdam Treaty which came into force on May 1, 1999. It amended the EU and EC Treaties and produced consolidated versions of the EU and EC Treaties.

Finally the Nice Treaty came into force on February 1, 2003. It reformed the European institutions so that the EU could function efficiently after its enlargement from 15 member states.

The Lisbon Treaty (also called the EU Reform Treaty) was agreed by European Heads of State and Government at a meeting in Lisbon on October 18-19, 2007.

This treaty represents the latest updating of the EU's basic legal documentation.

The text of the Treaty is very difficult to follow since it requires constant cross-referencing to the current treaties.

However, a wide range of bodies have produced detailed and often lengthy outlines of what the treaty proposes to do. The most useful sources for further information are the Forum on Europe and the Referendum Commission (contact details on page 6). A wide range of viewpoints have been articulated on the Treaty - some very positive, others very negative.

For this Treaty to come into effect it must be ratified by all 27 Member States. Ireland is the only country holding a referendum on the issue.

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