It’s Time to Update the Lisbon Treaty

The Lisbon Treaty is in power since November 2009. Since the dynamisationof EU poltics in the mid-1980s, there were only few years without Scratching at existing treaty structures. We had in power

  • 1986/1987 in power – the European Single Act,
  • 1992/1993 in power – the Maastricht Treaty,
  • 1997/1999 in power –  the Amsterdam Treaty,
  • 2001/2003 in power – the Nice Treaty,
  • 2007/2009 in power – the Lisbon Treaty

Between the two latter we had the attempt to adopt a European „Constitution“ which for petit-bourgeois reasons was rejected by the people – but only in two countries, Netherlands and France, both voting not under too rational considerations.

Before 1986, there were not really treaty adaptations of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, besides „cosmetic“ ones. One can say that the real dynamisation of the EU started with the Single Market inf the mid-80s.

Now it is time to prepare the successor treaty for the Treaty of Lisbon. This treaty we have at present needs urgently to be revised:

  1. The „Greek Drama“ has shown clearly that we need a common fiscal policy and a common budget policy. This means of course that every EU Member State should have ist own budget policy, but the Framework, i.e. the Maximum aberaation figures should be set by the EU. If These should be a common currency – and it should, of course – then Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus etc. have shown clearly that not only an EMS remedy should exist but also an effective prevention mechanism.
  2. In this context we also have to say „yes“ to a horizontal financial support mechanism in the EU. If we have federalism in Germany, which has a strong and effective likewise mechanism (which is attacked by the one or other region = Land, all couple of years – but this is legitimate and a permanent task of politicians to discuss about percentages) , then it must be legitimate for the EU, too, as this grows into more and more federalism (or call it different, if one it ins countries where federalism is occupied negatively, by tradition. But tradition as such can not be valid for serious political reforms.).
  3. The next version of the EU Treaty must radically delete the legal necessity of unanimous votes in the Council, thus ending a preponderance of this instrument of national egoism. This may have been useful in the first time of the EU, when we had six founding members, but with 28 and possibly more in the future it is harmful. One state should not blackmail all the others just with a veto.
  4. In particular, we need a clear enabling of the EU for a common foreign policy. This may end in common embassies and consulates in third countries, which will bring many billions € of savings, but also a qualitative improvement of the EU representation and of ist Member States.
  5. We also need urgently to establish European Army structures, at first for outward interventions. This has been a taboo for a long time, which is ridiculous in view of the necessities.
  6. What came into everybody’s mind during the last weeks and months: Europe needs a real refugee policy, as well as an immigration policy. What we have now as a result is urgently to be changed and Europeanized.
  7. We also need an effective sanctions mechanism against EU Member States who evidently follow a corrupt policy or follow policies diametral to European values. While Hungary, still officially under communist regime!, cut a hole into the Iron Curtain, literally, the successor government under Viktor Orban sets up a fence against Syrian and Eritrean refugees – this is not only hard to swallow, this is frankly unacceptable and cries for sanctions.

All this is for a future Lisbon Treaty. Maybe it is called then the Rangendingen-Höfendorf Treaty, or Horndon-on-the-Hill Treaty, or St.Moulinex-les-bains Treaty – it is the content which counts. And the time should be over that European federalists discuss only from the defensive side.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal


Ein Gedanke zu “It’s Time to Update the Lisbon Treaty

  1. It is obvious that it would be good if Europe could find a way for getting its countries nicely together rather than falling to pieces under the pressure of the global corporatocracy with its game of ‚divide et impera‘ in the hope of reaping ever more profit. After all, this imperialistic calculus is on the verge of backfiring empirically, as diverse indicators are already revealing. As history shows, in such situations the structure in power knows nothing better than instigating some kind of war because conflict is its source of profit. John Perkins offers some pertinent clarifications of fact (see the literature and the internet). But the process is possible only until exhausting the host organism. In a wider view there is every reason for not complying with that type of policy making. The European path could follow an interest in thoroughly understanding reality, for then manifesting the art of getting together the participants in a holistic creativity that is farseeing, supportive of life in a general and fundamental way – instead of indulging in a technocratic constructiveness that is shortsighted, supportive of mere pecuniary profit maximisation. Having power is OK, but priding oneself and abusing it is a sign of naiveté.

    The European federalists are right in calling for an update of the Lisbon Treaty for achieving a shared framework in which a reasonable union with federalistic adaptations to local conditions is easily possible. But the trouble with the European federalists is that most of them still are considering the socio-economic complex along the lines of mainstream economics, which is helpless when having to face the financial backbone of today’s socio-economic complex. This helplessness not only allows the game of ‚divide et impera‘, but the representatives of the discipline in fact became addicted to it (already on the theoretical level, for example in betting on competition as a condition for economic functionality) and therefore cannot allow it to be overcome, although it is strangulating humanity. Neither mere hope nor mere power can warrant the objectively necessary insight and quality of decision for avoiding such a vicious circularity to be resolved. Reconsidering the fiscal policy and budget policy (point 1 in the blog entry) without fundamentally reconsidering and redesigning the monetary system is a one-eyed endeavour, because today’s system has its foundation in producing debt, which is absolutely not a necessary feature of money. A lack of criticism and sound holistic conceptualisation would lead to a reiteration of old habits under a new banner, as so often has happened already. Point 2 (a horizontal financial support mechanism) is clearly subordinate to point 1. But in fact also the other points 3-7 are codetermined to some extent by how the whole complex is being addressed.

    Since quite some time a few stimuli for a methodologically more secure view have been published in the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (see – especially the articles by Schaerer in no. 2-3 – 2011 and no. 1 – 2014). Among others, the law imposed by nature is presented that regulates all possible forms of economy; this law allows the real value of money to be determined in relation to the process of extracting resources. Knowing this law has profound implications, as much for considering the geostrategic attitudes these days as the habit of pillaging nature for producing things that consumers don’t really want. A wider awareness and a radical, really sound debate is necessary, revising the habitual taboos that aim at sustaining ideologies (at the theoretical level) and global corporatocracy (at the practical level) as if they were laws imposed by nature. Yet on both levels the structures are completely man-made, and indeed defective. But due to firm beliefs maintained by their powerful representatives, these structures cannot change out of themselves in some self-healing process. Trust and confidence can thus not get us anywhere reasonable. The structures will change either by empirical failure, or by a wider public intelligence manifesting itself. Who wants what? You are part of the choice!

    Dr. Alec Schaerer, Basel/Schweiz

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