The Lisbon treaty, which came into force on 1 December, opens up a new stage for the European Union, for this project of coexistence between 27 countries and 500 million people, a project created on the values of freedom and human dignity, of tolerance and solidarity.
As presidents of the European council and of the government of the rotating presidency, we would like the application of the Lisbon treaty to be as diligent and rigorous as possible. In a spirit of co"'operation, we will promote the EU's new institutional order so we can address and resolve the problems that concern us all. Together we will address the priorities set out in the programme of the presidency.
The first is the full implementation of the treaty, because it is on this basis that we can pursue the remaining objectives we have set ourselves: to make further progress in co-ordinating national economic policies to consolidate recovery; to contribute to enabling Europe to speak with a single, firm voice in the world, in defence of its values and interests; and to bring the union closer to and make it more useful for all of Europe's inhabitants.
We have achieved monetary union, and we have a single market, but we remain far from creating an economic union, the pressing need for which has been highlighted by the present crisis. We need to intensify co-ordination in order to stimulate our economies, and also to lay the foundations for sustainable growth. Sustainable, from the economic standpoint, means more competitive, and more grounded in education, training and R&D; this is compatible with budgetary stability and better financial supervision. Sustainable, moreover, in environmental and social terms, that is, with the capacity to continue leading in the fight against climate change, and to continue defending social cohesion and security. These are the aims of the strategy for growth and employment that we must approve in one of the most important council meetings of the Spanish presidency, the one at which the Lisbon agenda must be renewed.
Second, following the Copenhagen summit on climate change, the EU must reaffirm its role as a leader within a multipolar world, setting itself out as a secure reference point for democracy, human rights and social progress for the world. With the president of the council and the high representative of the union for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, and with the participation of its member states, Europe will now have a voice that is stronger and more united. And this presence will be reinforced with the launching of the European External Action Service, a genuinely European diplomatic service working for the benefit of EU citizens throughout the world.
The coming into force of the treaty also offers the opportunity for European citizens to feel that the union is relevant to their everyday lives, their liberties and their security. An initial step in this direction has been the inclusion of the charter of fundamental rights as an integral part of the treaty. We will also promote the EU's adoption of the European convention on human rights and advance the union's plan for gender equality. In addition, we will give citizens a say in the union's legislative process, and we will continue to make the joint management of migratory flows a strategic priority for Europe.
All of these are new developments for a renewed Europe, the first steps along a long road that we shall travel together.
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3 Jan 2010, 11:04PM
I don't suppose any of us plebs get a say in any of this do we?
3 Jan 2010, 11:10PM
The British people don't have a voice on the EU, we are told what we think not asked what we think.
3 Jan 2010, 11:12PM