The Lisbon Treaty Negative Implications for United States Foreign Policy
McNamara, Sally, Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly
After eight years of popular rejection, political cajoling and endless hand-wringing, the EU has finally ratified the Lisbon Treaty without a shred of democratic legitimacy or public support. The Treaty contains all the essential components of an EU superstate including a single legal personality, a permanent EU presidency, an EU-wide public prosecutor, and the position of foreign minister in all but name. The Lisbon Treaty shifts power away from nation- states to Brussels in critical areas of policymaking--such as defense, security, foreign affairs, criminal justice, judicial cooperation and energy--where the United States finds more traction on a bilateral basis. It restricts the sovereign right of EU member states to independently determine foreign policy and poses a unique threat to the AngloAmerican Special Relationship. Above all, it is a treaty that underscores the EU's ambition to become a global power and challenge American leadership on the world stage.
An Undemocratic Passage Which Lacks Public Legitimacy The Lisbon Treaty was borne from the twice rejected European Constitution, which was voted down in public referenda held in France and Holland in 2005. The Lisbon Treaty itself was rejected in a referendum held in Ireland in 2008, until Dublin was forced into holding a second referendum in October 2009. Ireland's EU Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy stated that if the Lisbon Treaty had been put to a public vote across the European Union, it would have been rejected by 95 per cent of EU member states. In one of the biggest acts of political betrayal in modern British history, the Labour Party denied the British public a long-promised referendum on the Treaty, despite overwhelming support for a public plebiscite. The widespread lack of public support and legitimacy suffered by this Treaty should be of concern to all institutions who uphold the democratic values of openness, honesty, rule-of-law and transparency.
Negative Foreign Policy Implications for the United States
As with past EU treaties, one specific policy area has been heralded as critical to further European integration. The Single European Act brought about the Single Market and the Maastricht Treaty instituted the single European currency. Undoubtedly, the major success of the Lisbon Treaty will be the EU's power-grab of foreign and defense policy, which is vital to realizing the EU's ambition of becoming the world's first supranational superstate. The EU boasts that the Lisbon Treaty compels member states to speak with a single voice on external relations, and with a single legal personality Brussels will now sign international agreements on behalf of all member states. The Treaty formally abolishes the EU's pillar structure that provided for nation states to maintain the lead role in foreign affairs. Brussels' elites are claiming to finally have one telephone line to Europe. All of this may sound enticing to the United States, which has long called for Europe to shoulder a greater share of the burden for global security. However, it is worth considering what has taken place to date, as a forewarning of what is to come. Prior to the Lisbon Treaty, the EU already had an extensive sanctions arsenal through the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) but has repeatedly chosen not to use them. The EU has consistently frustrated the prospect of tougher sanctions against Iran, and has acted, in the words of Joschka Fischer, as a "protective shield" for Tehran against the United States. The EU even rolled out the red carpet for brutal Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe in 2007, officially suspending its own travel ban to welcome him to Lisbon. In Afghanistan, the EU has been nothing more than a bit-part player with a police training mission criticized by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly as too small, underfunded, slow to deploy, inflexible, and largely restricted to Kabul. …