Stanley's blog

The new treaty entered into force on 1 December; Hermann van Rompuy took office on 1 January; Cathleen Ashton, while already High Representative for Foreign & Security Policy, had to face her Europêan Parliament Hearing on 11 January; and the new Commission does not come into being until February.

And yet, to read the media, and indeed listen to some of our political analysts, the Lisbon Treaty has already been declared a failure. The Union’s performance at Copenhagen was humiliating and the Union is currently hardly a player on the international scene. But these are nothing to do with the Lisbon Treaty. They are the legacy the new EU institutional formation inherits.

The Treaty only provides the mechanism for the Union to play a revitalized role internationally. Whether it does in the short term will not depend on van Rompuy and Ashton, who will be preoccupied in bedding down the new set-up, but on the political will and egos of member State leaders. We will have to be patience. Look how long it took to forge a true common commercial policy. And a common foreign policy is even more sensitive.

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  1. “The Treaty only provides the mechanism for the Union to play a revitalized role internationally. Whether it does in the short term will not depend on van Rompuy and Ashton, who will be preoccupied in bedding down the new set-up, but on the political will and egos of member State leaders.”

    And those leaders, unlike Van Rompuy and Ashton, have to face electorates. I suspect that I have more reason for optimism than you do, Mr Crossick.

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