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European Union: Lisbon Treaty Coming into Force

(Nov. 10, 2009) On November 4, 2009, Vaclav Klaus, the Czech President, who was a strong opponent of the Lisbon Treaty on revamping of the institutional structure of the European Union, signed the document. His signing followed a decision issued on November 3, 2009, by the Czech Constitutional Court, holding that the Lisbon Treaty is not incompatible with the Czech Constitution. In a last‑minute request, Klaus also succeeded in opting out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights which is part of the Lisbon Treaty. The Charter will acquire binding status upon the entrance into force of the Lisbon Treaty. (Honor Mahony, Czech Court Gives Green Light to EU Treaty, EU OBSERVER, Nov. 3, 2009, available at

Pursuant to the Treaty's provision stating that it will enter into force on the first day of the month after ratification by all EU States, the Lisbon Treaty is expected to enter into force on December 1, 2009. The ratification opens the process for a spate of drastic institutional changes, including the establishment of a newly constituted European Commission and of the two new positions of EU Foreign Minister and President of the European Council. The Treaty also augments the power of the European Parliament in several key areas. (Andrew Willis, Klaus Signature Completes EU Treaty Ratification, EU OBSERVER, Nov. 4, 2009, available at; see also Theresa Papademetriou, Czech Republic: Senate Ratifies the Lisbon Treaty, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, May 12, 2009, available at

Another major innovation is the creation of a European External Action Service (EEAS), which will function as a diplomatic corps and be part of the European Commission. The diplomatic service will incorporate within its structure the existing military planning service and the civilian one, along with all operational and planning divisions. The military chiefs, who currently report to the rotating EU presidency, will report directly to the new foreign minister. The chiefs of defense, in a November 4, 2009, meeting held in Brussels, stated that they wish to keep the “high professionalism” and “rigour” of their structure and also to ensure that their opinions will matter following the establishment of the new EEAS. (Valentina Pop, EU Military Chiefs Nervous About Lisbon Treaty Implications, EU OBSERVER, Nov. 5, 2009, available at