The Treaty of Lisbon in Context

Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


On 1 December 2009 the latest round of large-scale European Union (EU) treaty reform reached its culmination with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The occasion was marked more by a sense of relief among the EU’s supporters than with the popping of champagne corks. The road down which the EU had travelled to introduce the reforms contained in this latest treaty had been the longest and most eventful in the history of the European integration process. Initially launched by the Laeken European Council in December 2001, the process had involved: the drafting in 2002–2003 of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe; the adoption in 2004 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe — the Constitutional Treaty; its rejection in referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005; the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007; its initial rejection in a referendum in Ireland in 2008; and ultimately in 2009 its successful ratification. In among these developments the EU in 2004 underwent its largest ever enlargement from 15 to 25 member states and then a further enlargement to 27 member states in 2007 (see Box 1.1). And the period also saw the belated entry into force on 1 February 2003 of the Treaty of Nice following initial Irish rejection in 2001.


European Union Member State European Council European Parliament Constitutional Treaty 
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Copyright information

© David Phinnemore 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastUK

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