Update: (Europe in blogs - Euroblogs) For blog reactions on the Lisbon Treaty in 18 official EU languages just scroll down to the end of the post! It is the 1st of December 2009, and the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force less than one hour ago.
Sixteen years and one month ago, on the 1st of November 1993, when the Maastricht Treaty entered into force, the European Union was born. In that moment, we all became citizens of the first supranational Union, and we have been its citizens ever since.
From today, the Lisbon Treaty has become the legal basis of the EU, and although the amount of innovation might look minimal, the effects on our daily lives might seem small, and the text of the document is a horrible read, the European Union now has become a full Union. No more pillars, no more European Community (EC) - nothing but a European Union, with a strengthened European Parliament that gets almost equal rights in law-making and budgeting as the Council.
In some sense, the Maastricht Treaty (and the Amsterdam Treaty and the Nice Treaty) has already been the constitution of the European Union, but although the Lisbon Treaty is just a limited version of the Constitutional Treaty rejected some years ago and split into two parts, this text it is now a true and unique constitutional document for the supranational system of the European Union.
This European Union is a Union of 27 independent but interdependent countries represented in the European Council and the EU Council, and a Union of 500 million citizens directly represented in the Parliament, both held together by the European Commission in the centre of the institutional setting and the constitutional system of the EU.
Yet, the Lisbon Treaty is just one step forward in a a step-by-step evolution of the constitutional system of the European Union that started less than 60 years ago. But even if this step was the last one, the existence of this supranational polity cannot be denied or ignored, and so we all have to make the best of what we have, for the sake of the Union, for the sake of the member states, but most and foremost for the sake of each and every of the 500 million European citizens living within the Union's borders.
It is the 1st of December 2009, and the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force less than one hour ago.