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EUROPA > Treaty of Lisbon > Taking Europe into the 21st century

Taking Europe into the 21st century

Babies placed in circle forming the EU symbol

Europe is not the same place it was 50 years ago, and nor is the rest of the world.

In a constantly changing, ever more interconnected world, Europe is grappling with new issues: globalisation, demographic shifts, climate change, the need for sustainable energy sources and new security threats. These are the challenges facing Europe in the 21st century.

Borders count for very little in the light of these challenges. The EU countries cannot meet them alone. But acting as one, Europe can deliver results and respond to the concerns of the public. For this, Europe needs to modernise. The EU has recently expanded from 15 to 27 members; it needs effective, coherent tools so it can function properly and respond to the rapid changes in the world. That means rethinking some of the ground rules for working together.

The treaty signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007 sets out to do just that. When European leaders reached agreement on the new rules, they were thinking of the political, economic and social changes going on, and the need to live up to the hopes and expectations of the European public. The Treaty of Lisbon defines what the EU can and cannot do, and what means it can use. It alters the structure of the EU’s institutions and how they work. As a result, the EU is more democratic and its core values are better served.

This treaty is the result of negotiations between EU member countries in an intergovernmental conference, in which the Commission and Parliament were also involved. The treaty was ratified by each of the EU’s 27 members. It was up to each country to choose the procedure for ratification, in line with its own national constitution.

The Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, in accordance with its Article 6.

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