Parliament and the Lisbon Treaty


The Lisbon Treaty gives the European Parliament new lawmaking powers: it now decides on the vast majority of EU legislation. Over 40 new fields come under the procedure for co-decision by Parliament and the Council of Ministers, including agriculture, energy policy, immigration and EU funds. Parliament has the last say on the EU budget. With more power comes more responsibility. Parliament, as the only directly-elected EU institution, will have new means to keep the EU accountable to its citizens.

Statement by EP President Jerzy Buzek on the Lisbon Treaty

The 1 December 2009 will go down in the history of the European Union. It is the day the Lisbon Treaty enters into force ending nearly a decade of internal discussions. The Treaty represents an increase in democracy in the European Union. The Treaty gives a huge boost to the powers of the European Parliament. The rise in legislative powers for the European Parliament represents almost a doubling in power.

New EP: more power, more responsibility

The Lisbon Treaty gives the European Parliament more power to shape Europe than ever before. Along with more power, comes more responsibility vis-à-vis citizens, national parliaments and the European Union.

Every new EU treaty has increased the European Parliament's legislative power. The Lisbon Treaty now places Parliament on an equal footing with the Council of Ministers in deciding on the vast majority of EU laws.

New EP: more power, more responsibility

More powers

The Lisbon Treaty makes the European Parliament a stronger lawmaker by bringing over 40 new fields within the "co-decision" procedure, under which Parliament has equal rights with the Council. These areas include agriculture, energy security, immigration, justice and home affairs, health and structural funds.

Parliament gains a bigger role in setting budgets, as the old distinction between "compulsory" and "non-compulsory" expenditure is abolished. Parliament will decide on the entire EU budget together with the Council.

MEPs will also have to give their consent to a whole range of international agreements negotiated by the Union, in areas such as international trade.

More responsibility

More power means more responsibility. With this increased legislative power, Parliament's decisions will, more than ever, directly affect the daily lives of Europe's citizens. Parliament shall, in all its activities, fully respect the fundamental rights of EU citizens, in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty.

MEPs will have a new role in relations with the other institutions of the EU. From now on, results of elections to the European Parliament will be directly linked to the choice of candidate for the President of the European Commission. The whole Commission, including the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, needs Parliament's approval to take office.

Lastly, the Lisbon Treaty gives Parliament a new right to propose treaty changes.

EP and Lisbon Treaty in 5 points
1. New EP: better equipped for today's challenges

The Lisbon Treaty improves the ability of the EU and its Parliament to act and deliver. At a time when both Europe and the rest of the world are faced with new challenges like globalisation, demographic shifts, climate change, energy security and terrorism, no single state can effectively deal with them alone. Only by working together, in a more efficient, accountable, transparent and coherent way and speaking with one voice, can Europe respond to its citizens' concerns. The reform treaty makes your Parliament better equipped for today's and tomorrow's challenges - in a growing EU. Further, with Lisbon, your Parliament will also enjoy a new right to propose future treaty changes.

2. New EP: more powers in shaping Europe

With the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament will have more power in shaping Europe than ever before. With its full legislative power extending to over 40 new fields, Parliament becomes a truly equal lawmaker with the Council of Ministers, representing member states governments. Agriculture, energy security, legal immigration, justice and home affairs, public health and structural funds are just a few of the areas where Parliament acquires full authority. Its decisions will have an ever stronger impact on your everyday life.

3. New EP: tighter hold on EU's purse strings

From now on, the Parliament will decide on the entire EU budget together with the Council of Ministers. Until now, it did not have the final word on "compulsory expenditure" (around 45% of the EU budget) such as spending relating to agriculture or international agreements. This changes as the Parliament becomes responsible for the entire EU budget, together with EU governments. Your Parliament will not only have a decisive say on overall spending priorities, but will also have a tighter hold on the EU's purse strings.

4. New EP: greater say on who runs the EU

In the Lisbon era, the Parliament will not only decide what is done and how money is spent, it will also have a greater say on which men and women run the EU. The Parliament will elect the President of the European Commission, on the basis of the EU heads of state and government's pre-selection, which must take into account the results of European elections - and your choice. Also, Parliament's consent is needed in the appointment of the EU's new voice in the world and foreign policy chief, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who will also be a Commission Vice-President.

5. New EP: stronger voice for Europe's citizens

New power means more responsibility. As the only directly-elected EU institution, the Parliament will have new tools to give a stronger voice to the 500 million citizens it represents and to hold the EU accountable to them. The Parliament will be the guardian of EU citizens' new catalogue of civil, political, economic and social rights - the Charter of Fundamental Rights - embedded in the Lisbon Treaty, as well as their new right of citizens' initiative, which will allow people to call for new policy proposals if supported by 1 million signatures. Also, it will safeguard national parliaments' right to object to European level legislative proposals should they consider them to concern matters better dealt with at national level.