The Treaty of Lisbon and the Future of EU Treaty Reform

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


Six years after its signature and four years after its entry into force the Treaty of Lisbon may appear with hindsight to have been the obvious reserve option for reforming the EU following the popular rejection in France and the Netherlands of a naïvely and audaciously ambitious attempt to establish a ‘Constitution for Europe’ through the Constitutional Treaty. In a swiftly agreed amending treaty containing previously agreed reforms shorn of some of their more controversial elements and embellished with a few new concessions to certain member states, the EU had with the Lisbon Treaty identified an efficient means of bringing to a close its latest attempt at much needed treaty reform. At the time of its adoption in October 2007, however, the Treaty of Lisbon was widely viewed as something that could not have been — and indeed had not been — predicted at the start of the year. Not only was the Treaty of Lisbon, according to one experienced EU official, an ‘accidental treaty’ — a treaty whose existence was never intended (Interview: 20 May 2009), it was also an ‘unexpected treaty’, a substantial amending treaty that emerged at unprecedented speed — a traité à grande vitesse — against the backdrop of apparent inertia during a period of reflection on what the EU should do to extricate it from its latest ‘constitutional’ crisis.


Member State European Council Revision Procedure Current Crisis Legal Expert 
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Copyright information

© David Phinnemore 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastUK

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