Timely ratification – wide public information campaign

The ratification of the Lisbon treaty in the Lithuanian Parliament is planned for the spring
 
On November 11, 2004 Lithuania was the first EU member state to ratify the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which has now been replaced by the Lisbon treaty. Such a “rush” to ratify a new treaty was justified by many factors, but it was also criticized because at the time of ratification of the Constitution for Europe Lithuanian society was not well informed about this document. Therefore based on this experience Lithuania is not rushing to ratify the Lisbon treaty. The treaty will be ratified in the Parliament and there should be no problems for the ratification of this treaty. As the Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Petras Vaitiekūnas said “the treaty will have to be ratified in the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) and I suppose it will be successfully done”[1].
 
As the Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Lithuanian Parliament Andrius Kubilius informed, the Parliament could begin the Lisbon treaty ratification procedures when the new parliament session will start (the new sessions starts on March 10) and could finalize them in the beginning of May 2008. On the 1st of May Lithuania will celebrate the 4th anniversary of its membership in the European Union and the 9th of May is Europe’s day. Therefore, according to the Chairman, it would be meaningful to relate the date of the Lisbon treaty ratification with these dates[2].
 
A wide public information campaign is prepared to inform the Lithuanian society about the Lisbon treaty
 
Before the ratification of the Lisbon treaty Lithuania is eager to arrange a wide public information campaign about the Lisbon treaty.
 
After signing of the Lisbon treaty the Committee on European Affairs of the Lithuanian Parliament expressed a wish that Lithuanian society would be actively informed about this document. During the meeting of the Committee it was agreed that the campaign should include not only the presentation of the provisions of the Lisbon treaty, but also a discussion on the future and boundaries of the EU and about the place of Lithuania in the EU[3]. The Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Petras Vaitiekūnas also claimed that we have to use the Lisbon treaty ratification process for the wider discussions in the Parliament and with the society about the European Union and Lithuania’s European policy priorities[4].
 
In the end of 2007 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lithuanian Parliament, European Commission Representation to Lithuanian, European Parliament information office, NGOs and other organizations prepared a common strategy dedicated to inform the Lithuanian society about the Lisbon treaty. Before the preparation of the strategy a public opinion poll was conducted which demonstrated that 73 % of the respondents have not yet heard about the new EU document and 27 % of the Lithuanian inhabitants have heard about this treaty. 51 % of the respondents who have heard about the Lisbon treaty declared that they do not have enough information about this documents and 46 % claimed that they would like to learn more about the new treaty[5]. The information strategy includes different means aimed at explaining the society the content, the novelties of the treaty and the possible impact of the treaty to Lithuania.
 
What are the reactions to the establishment of a ‘Committee of the Wise’?
 
The establishment of the Committee of the Wise does not attract a lot of attention in Lithuania. There were only a few public comments by the Lithuanian officials made on the establishment of the committee before the decisions of the December European Council were made.


[1] UR ministras tikisi, kad Lietuvos parlamentas ratifikuos ES Reformų sutartį (Foreign Affairs Minister hopes that Lithuanian Parliament will ratify the EU reform treaty), news agency Baltic News Service, December 12, 2007, .

[2] Seime diskutuojama apie naująją Europos Sąjungos Lisabonos sutartį (The discussion on the new Lisbon treaty is held in the Seimas), press release of the Committee on European Affairs of Lithuanian Parliament, January 17, 2008, .

[3] Europos reikalų komitetas siūlo surengti plačią informacinę kampaniją apie ES reformų sutartį (Committee on European Affairs suggests to have a wide information campaign on the EU reform treaty), press release of the Committee on European Affairs of Lithuanian Parliament, October 24, 2007, .

[4] Užsienio reikalų ministras su Europos Parlamento atstovu aptarė Lisabonos sutarties įgyvendinimą (Foreign Affairs Minister has discussed about the implementation of the Lisbon treaty with the representative of the European Parliament), press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 17, 2008, .

[5] Lisabonos sutarties viešinimui - speciali strategija (A special strategy to publicize the Lisbon treaty), news agency Baltic News Service, December 11, 2007, .