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Treaty of Lisbon

The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that all its powers are founded in the Treaties and attributed by the Member States, which have voluntarily and democratically ratified all the Treaties marking the 50 years of the evolution of the European Economic Community into the European Union.

The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on 1 December 2009, was signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007, at the conclusion of the third Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Treaty of Lisbon is actually composed of the two main revised EU Treaties: the Treaty on European Union (TEU)and the Treaty establishing the European Community (now called the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU - TFEU), together with various annexed protocols and declarations which form an integral part thereof.

Among the innovations in the Treaty of Lisbon, for the first time in the history of the construction of Europe it includes a series of references to national Parliaments, establishing that they shall contribute actively to the proper functioning of the European Union (Article 12 TEU).

The Treaty also strengthens the powers of national Parliaments in the European legislative process by creating the opportunity for the Parliaments of each Member State - in Portugal's case the Assembleia da República - to send their opinions on a specific EU legislative proposal to the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission.

This pronouncement may be made in the form of a reasoned opinion in which the national Parliament states that the proposal regulates an area which, as a competence shared between the Member States and the EU, would be better regulated by individual Member States than by European legislation - in other words, the national Parliament believes that the proposal does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity.

Alternatively, national Parliaments may pronounce by means of written opinions in which they express comments on aspects of the substance of legislative proposals within the framework of so-called political dialogue with the European Commission.

On this page you will find a consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon, a list of all the articles that mention national Parliaments and the implications, in particular, for the Portuguese Parliament.


The Treaty of Lisbon and the national Parliaments