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European Law Monitor newsReform treaty finalised in Lisbon

After months of intensive work, the text of the EU reform treaty was finalised at the informal Lisbon summit held last week.

An instrument to deliver policies for the 21st century, as president Barroso described it, the reform treaty introduces several changes to the way in which the EU functions.

"We need the reform treaty to give our citizens a strong Europe with an enhanced capacity to act," explained president Barroso.

The reform treaty makes decision-making more efficient, increases democratic control and enhances the external coherence of the Union.

It allows the Union to take new initiatives on climate change and energy policy. The charter of fundamental rights will be legally binding, and for the first time, the public will have the right to request that the Union proposes legislation on a specific area. The role of national parliaments and the European parliament will be strengthened.

Other changes include the new position of a president of the European council and a high representative / vice president of the commission • enabling the Union to speak on external affairs with one clear voice.
"We have spent six years discussing institutional architecture. It is time to move on", said Mr Barroso, describing the text as the best deal on offer.

The informal summit also discussed Europe's response to globalisation. President Barroso concentrated on two specific issues: turbulence on the financial markets and climate change.

The Lisbon growth and jobs strategy is working, "But we can still do more. For example: boosting innovation; moving towards flexicurity in labour markets and delivering on energy targets," said Mr Barroso.