Hope for the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009

Malta
Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, University of Malta

The conclusions of the European Council in December 2008 were widely welcomed in Malta as having already voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, there is hope that a second vote in 2009 in Ireland will result in adoption of the Treaty.

Malta also welcomes the agreement that every EU member state will retain a Commissioner in the European Commission. It also supports the decision taken vis-à-vis caps on CO2 emissions. Malta also committed itself to the decision taken for every EU member state to implement the European Economic Recovery Plan to help boost recovery in each country. In fact, Malta already announced an 80 million Euro package to beautify its capital Valletta, including the building in four years of a new parliament building.

Enthusiasm for the upcoming European Parliament elections

Optimism about reinforcement of democracy, transparency and efficiency

Luxembourg
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Européennes Robert Schuman

The Luxembourg government is satisfied with the fact that the Lisbon Treaty is a quasi ‘copy and paste’ of the essentials of the former Constitutional Treaty it strongly supported, and which the Luxembourg people voted for in the referendum of 10 July 2005. Hence the Lisbon Treaty will contribute, according to the government, to reinforcing democracy, transparency and efficiency in the functioning of EU institutions. The government regrets that certain European symbols (like the European flag) have disappeared from the new text and that certain exceptions, like the one allowing the United Kingdom to maintain certain opt-out possibilities, the non-application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the non-cooperation in the domain of politics, justice and internal affairs have made their entry in the Lisbon Treaty.[1]
 

Attention concentrated on energy and the European Economy Recovery Plan

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
The Lisbon Treaty is a very important treaty to Lithuania. As the former Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said – “by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty Lithuania has spoken for a strong, solid and united EU”.[1] Nevertheless, in Lithuania during the December European Council meeting, the attention has been concentrated on the European Council decisions concerning energy and the European Economy Recovery Plan. The Committee on European Affairs of the Lithuanian parliament called these two issues the most important to Lithuania.[2] Therefore the European Council decisions concerning the fate of the Lisbon Treaty did not attract much attention.
 
Little preparation for the European Parliament elections
 
Lithuanian parliament changed the order of the presidential elections, therefore the European Parliament elections in Lithuania will be held together with the second round of the presidential elections. According to the former chairman of the Lithuanian parliament, Česlovas Juršėnas, this measure has been taken in order to stimulate the participation of Lithuanians in the European Parliament elections and to save money.[3]
 

National crisis management more important than future of the EU

Latvia
Latvian Institute of International Affairs

For the past two years, but especially since autumn 2008, Latvia has been increasingly preoccupied with its own problems. The Latvians are particularly concerned with:

Linkage between European citizens and EU institutions has to be restored

Italy
Istituto Affari Internazionali

The Conclusions of December 2008 European Council on the fate of the Lisbon Treaty
 
In Italy, the reactions to the European Council of December 2008 have been quite positive at the political level. The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, affirmed that it was a success for the European Council to reject the Irish request for a new ratification process from all EU member states. In his opinion, the Brussels Summit proved very useful for finding a compromise on this difficult issue since it “worked hard to give Ireland the possibility to hold a new referendum on the treaty”[1]. For this purpose, he said the EU had to “accept some conditions” such as maintaining a 27-member Commission, allowing the non participation of Ireland in the EU military missions and giving it some assurances on ethical matters and family law.[2]
 

The future of the EU after the Irish ‘No’

Ireland
Institute of International and European Affairs

Conclusions of the European Council of December 2008 on the fate of the Lisbon Treaty
 

A strong pro-Lisbon and future-oriented stance

Hungary
Institute for World Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
 
According to the official standpoint of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although Hungary regretted the outcome of the Irish referendum in June 2008, it supported the view to respect the decision of the Irish people.[1] It is important to emphasize that this was not the first time when the Union had to face a negative vote on a treaty. After the Irish ‘No’, it is of utmost importance to find a solution that is legally and politically acceptable for Ireland, the other 26 member states and the EU as a whole. Political and economic issues in the second semester of 2008 proved that there is a real need for a coherent Union that can react to challenges quickly and that is close to its citizens.
 

Keep the light burning

Greece
Greek Centre of European Studies and Research

The institutional aspects of the future of the EU are mainly seen as ways in which Greece, a member state that considers itself to be increasingly marginalised or ‘under siege’ in the current EU setting, can afford and feel some degree of centrality within the European public discourse. Thus, both the post-Irish ‘No’ fate of the Lisbon Treaty and the road towards the elections to the European Parliament in June 2009, are viewed in this context. In academic discussions, as well as in the wider media, ways are sought that would allow for ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Even the methods provided for in the U.S. Constitution are enlisted so as to keep the light of the Lisbon Treaty burning.[1]
 

Continuation of ratification process welcomed

Germany
Institute for European Politics

After the European Council meeting in December 2008 which has been dominated by economic and energy issues, the future of the EU seems to be regarded quite optimistically in Germany. Especially the prospect of Ireland holding a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty before the end of the European Commission’s term of office has been warmly welcomed. The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, “was in confident mood: ‘Together with our Irish friends, we have agreed on a process which will allow a new referendum in Ireland and enable the Treaty to enter into force at the end of 2009’”.[1] This agreement, reached at the European Council meeting,[2] is mostly seen as a continuation of the ratification process, and there is not much discussion about the consequences of a second ‘No’ vote.[3] The only party in the German parliament sceptical of a second referendum is the Left Party (“Die Linke”), arguing that such a procedure is everything but democratic.[4] The Left is also the only party in the German parliament arguing for a stop of the current ratification process,[5] having also voted against the law approving of the Lisbon Treaty.[6]

The future of the EU after the Irish ‘No’: many uncertainties

France
Centre européen de Sciences Po
 
Conclusions of the European Council of December 2008 on the fate of the Lisbon Treaty