c. 1450-1000 BC: Egypt as world power
884-612 BC: Assyrian Empire
612-539 BC: Neo-Babylonian Empire
539-332 BC: Medo-Persian Empire
332-168 BC: Greek Empire
168 BC-476 AD: The Roman Empire
c. 30/1 AD: Christ's crucifixion.
66-70 AD: Siege and fall of Jerusalem. Destruction of the second Temple.
135 AD: Destruction of the Second Commonwealth by the Romans and subsequent exile of the Israelite nation.
Division of the Roman Empire:
321 AD: Emperor Constantine makes Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire.
325 AD: Council of Nicea
330 AD: Emperor Constantine moves the seat of the Roman emperors and government to Constantinople in the East.
476 AD: Fall of the Western Roman Empire
538 AD: Emperor Justinian defeats the three Arian Goth kingdoms. Temporary re-unification of east and west.
756 AD: Pepin III defeats the Lombards. Establishment of the Papal States in Italy.
800 AD - 1806: Holy Roman Empire in the west.
1099-1291: The Latin (Crusader) Kingdom of Jerusalem (Le Royaume Latin de Jérusalem).
1232: The Holy Roman Inquisition is established by Pope Gregory IX and the emperor Frederick II.
1453: Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. End of the eastern (Roman) Byzantine Empire.
1492: Columbus discovers America. Subsequent establishment and expansion of the European Colonial world empires (Britain, France, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, etc). The Papacy presumes to divide the world between its Catholic vassals Spain and Portugal (eg. the Papal demarcation line) for conquest and colonisation in order to bring the newly discovered colonies and peoples under Papal rulership and dominion.
1519: The Protestant Reformation begins.
1540: Establishment of the Catholic Jesuit order (Society of Jesus) under Pope Paul IV for the destruction of the Protestant Reformation and the introduction of Catholicism into the colonial lands conquered by eg. France, Spain and Portugal, etc. The only objective of the Jesuits is to bring all non-Catholic nations under Papal rule, either through colonisation by the Catholic powers, or the destruction of the (non-Catholic Christian) Protestant and Eastern Orthodox nations.
1776: Foundation of America based on principles of liberty of conscience and democracy.
1789: The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.
1806: End of the Holy Roman Empire.
1814-15: The Congress of Vienna
1848: The year of the revolutions across Europe.
1870: The Risorgimento absorbs the Papal States into the unified Kingdom of Italy.
1914-18: World War I
1917: The Russian Revolution and the foundation of the Soviet Union (USSR).
1922: End of the Ottoman Empire.
1929: Establishment of the Vatican State in Rome as a sovereign state separate from Italy. Lateran Treaty signed with Mussolini.
1939-45: World War II and the subsequent post-War collapse of the European colonial world empires.
1945/6: Establishment of the United Nations (UN), the World Bank and the IMF.
1948: The modern state of Israel is established as a secular democracy, after the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews in Europe during World War II.
1949: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) established.
1957: The Treaty of Rome establishes the European Community (EEC).
1964: The Vatican State (Holy See) gains 'Permanent Observer' status at the United Nations.
1975: Ramboulet Conference? establishes the Group of Seven (G7) of the world's wealthiest nations. These are currently the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Russia is later added after the collapse of the Soviet empire in E. Europe, to make the G8. For comparison the permanent 5 members (P5) of the UN Security Council are currently the US, UK, France, China and Russia. The major Fascist Axis powers of WWII were Germany, Italy and Japan, while the main Allied powers were the P5.
1984: The United States under the Reagan administration accords formal diplomatic recognition to the Vatican State (Holy See).
1989-91: Collapse of the Soviet empire (former Warsaw Pact nations) in E. Europe.
1993: The EEC becomes the European Union (EU).
1995: World Trade Organisation (WTO) established.
1 January 2002: Launch of the Euro single currency in 12 of the EU member states.
2003-4: EU Constitutional Treaty is drafted and later agreed.
2004: 10 new member states join the European Union, including 8 from the former Soviet bloc nations of E. Europe. 7 new member states join the NATO strategic alliance. The still ongoing re-unification of East and West. Still ongoing post-War collapse of the European colonial world empires such as the British Empire (Commonwealth), the former Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires, France's empire (Alliance Francais), etc.
Les quatre bêtes et le Fils de l'Homme
1 Au cours de la première année du règne de Balthazar, roi de Babylone, comme Daniel était couché sur son lit, il eut un rêve: il s'agissait de visions. Il consigna le rêve par écrit pour en raconter l'essentiel. Voici le récit de Daniel:
2 ---Au cours de mes visions nocturnes, je regardais et voici que les quatre vents du ciel agitaient la grande mer.
3 Quatre bêtes énormes, différentes les unes des autres, surgirent de la mer.
4 La première ressemblait à un lion avec des ailes d'aigle. Tandis que je la regardais attentivement, ses ailes lui furent arrachées, elle fut soulevée de terre et dressée sur ses pieds comme un homme, un coeur humain lui fut donné.
5 Et voici que surgit une deuxième bête, ressemblant à un ours: elle était dressée sur un côté et tenait dans sa gueule trois côtes entre les dents. J'entendis qu'on lui disait: «Debout, mange beaucoup de chair!»;
6 Après cela, je continuai à regarder et je vis un autre animal qui ressemblait à un léopard, avec quatre ailes d'oiseaux sur le dos et quatre têtes. Le pouvoir lui fut donné.
7 Après cela, dans mes visions nocturnes, je vis surgir une quatrième bête, effrayante, terrifiante et d'une force extraordinaire; elle avait d'énormes dents de fer, elle dévorait, déchiquetait et piétinait ce qui restait de ses victimes; elle était bien différente des bêtes qui l'avaient précédée; elle avait aussi dix cornes.
8 J'observais ces cornes et voilà qu'au milieu d'elles surgit une autre corne plus petite: trois des premières cornes furent arrachées devant elle. Sur cette corne, il y avait des yeux ressemblant à des yeux humains, et une bouche qui parlait avec arrogance.
9 Je regardai encore pendant qu'on installait des trônes, un vieillard âgé de très nombreux jours prit place sur l'un d'eux. Son vêtement était blanc comme de la neige et ses cheveux étaient comme la laine nettoyée. Son trône, embrasé de flammes de feu, avait des roues de feu ardent.
10 Un fleuve de feu jaillissait et coulait devant lui, des millions d'êtres le servaient, et des centaines de millions se tenaient debout devant lui. La cour de justice prit place et l'on ouvrit des livres.
11 Je regardai toujours. Alors, à cause des propos arrogants proférés par la corne, je vis qu'on tuait la bête et que son corps fut détruit, jeté dans un brasier de feu.
12 Quant au reste des bêtes, on leur enleva leur pouvoir mais on leur accorda une prolongation de vie jusqu'à un temps et un moment fixés.
13 Je regardai encore dans mes visions nocturnes: Sur les nuées du ciel, je vis venir quelqu'un semblable à un fils d'homme. Il s'avança jusqu'au vieillard âgé de nombreux jours et on le fit approcher devant lui.
14 On lui donna la souveraineté, et la gloire et la royauté, et tous les peuples, toutes les nations, les hommes de toutes les langues lui apportèrent leurs hommages. Sa souveraineté est éternelle, elle ne passera jamais, et quant à son royaume, il ne sera jamais détruit.
15 Moi, Daniel, je fus profondément angoissé au-dedans de moi et mes visions me remplissaient d'effroi.
16 Je m'approchai de l'un de ceux qui se tenaient là debout pour lui demander quelle était la signification véritable de tout ce que j'avais vu. Il me répondit pour m'en donner l'interprétation. «Ces quatre bêtes énormes, dit-il, représentent quatre rois qui apparaîtront sur la terre.
18 Mais le royaume sera donné aux membres du peuple saint du Très-Haut et ils le posséderont pour toujours, éternellement.»;
19 Alors je voulus être fixé avec certitude au sujet de la quatrième bête qui était si différente de toutes les autres, cette bête très effrayante qui avait des dents de fer et des griffes d'airain, qui dévorait, déchiquetait et piétinait ce qui restait de ses victimes.
20 Je voulus aussi savoir ce que représentaient les dix cornes qu'elle avait sur la tête et l'autre corne qui avait poussé et devant laquelle trois des premières cornes étaient tombées, cette corne qui avait des yeux et une bouche parlant avec arrogance et qui paraissait plus grande que les autres.
21 Tandis que je regardais, cette corne faisait la guerre aux membres du peuple saint et elle remportait la victoire sur eux
22 jusqu'à ce que vienne le vieillard âgé de nombreux jours, et que le jugement soit rendu en faveur des membres du peuple saint du Très-Haut et qu'arrive pour eux le temps de prendre possession du royaume.
23 Celui que j'avais interrogé me dit: «La quatrième bête représente un quatrième royaume qui apparaîtra sur la terre. Il sera différent de tous les royaumes précédents: il dévorera le monde entier, le piétinera et le déchiquettera.
24 Les dix cornes représentent dix rois qui surgiront de ce royaume. Un autre roi (une puissance mondiale politico-religieuse ?) se lèvera après eux, il sera différent de ses prédécesseurs. Il renversera trois rois.
25 Il proférera des paroles contre le Très-Haut, opprimera les membres du peuple saint, entreprendra de changer le calendrier et la loi; pendant trois temps et demi, le peuple saint sera livré à sa merci.
26 Mais alors, la cour de justice siégera et on ôtera la domination à ce roi pour l'exterminer et le faire périr définitivement.
27 Le règne, la souveraineté et la grandeur de tous les royaumes qui sont sous le ciel seront attribués aux membres du peuple saint du Très-Haut. Le règne de ce peuple est éternel, et toutes les puissances du monde le serviront et lui obéiront.»;
28 Ici prend fin le récit. Quant à moi, Daniel, je fus très effrayé par mes pensées et j'en devins blême. Je gardai ces choses en mémoire.
321 AD: Emperor Constantine makes Christianity the state religion in the
Roman Empire. Union of the Roman church and state.
330 AD: Removes the seat of the Roman government to Constantinople in the east. The Pope is left as effective temporal as well as spiritual ruler of Rome.
476 AD: The western Empire is divided between the 10 ancient Gothic kingdoms, bringing it to an end. The last Roman emperor in the west, Romulus Augustulus abdicates leaving a political power vacuum which was gradually filled by the Papacy over the next century. The Papacy in effect became the successor of the Roman imperial power, but as a religio-political world power (Church-and-state confederacy).
508 AD: Clovis, king of the Franks defeats the Goths. He converted to
533 AD: Justinian decrees the Papal supremacy of the Bishop of Rome.
538 AD: Justinian defeats the 3 Arian Goth tribes - End of the Arian Controversy. Temporary reunification of the eastern and western Roman Empires, but later divided again after Justinian's death. Eventually the divisions became the Latin west and the Byzantine (Orthodox) east. Papal supremacy comes into force.
756 AD: Frankish king Pepin III defeats the Lombards and gives some of their former territory to the Papacy, establishing the Papal States in Italy (Treaty of Sutri).
800 AD: Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire in the west.
843 AD: Treaty of Verdun.
1054: The Great Schism between the eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman
1099: Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
c. 1200-1300's: Waldenses, Albigenses, John Wycliff
1232: The Holy Roman Inquisition is established. This was to last until the the French Revolution in 1789.
1299: The Ottoman Empire
1453: Constantinople falls to the Ottomans
1492: Columbus discovers America and opens the way for the European colonization of the New World. The major European colonial empires were: Britain, France, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Belgium (c. 1500's-1970's). Later post-WWII eventual collapse of these colonial empires.
c. 1500's: The Protestant Reformation begins. Church-state separation (later) to protect freedom of religion and conscience in Protestant nations. The Enlightenment, the rise of science, learning, and
representative government based on principles of democracy and liberty of
1540: The Jesuit order (Society of Jesus) is established by command of Pope Paul IV and Ignatius Loyola to destroy the Reformation.
1559: The Papacy issues its Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Index of banned books). This saw the Roman Catholic Church formally ban the Bible and many Protestant writings.
1572: Huguenotorum Strages - The slaughter of the Protestant Huguenots in France during and after the St. Bartholomew Day massacre. The French Wars of Religion begin.
1618-48: Thirty Years War
1648: Treaty of Westphalia
1620: Mayflower Compact
1644: Roger Williams' treatise 'The Bloudy Tenent Of Persecution' argues for freedom of conscience and separation of church and state.
1776: Thomas Jefferson and the foundation of America. Separation of the three powers of government enshrined in the Constitution. Freedom of conscience and speech protected in the Bill of Rights.
1789: The French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
1797: Treaty of Tolentino between the Papacy and Napoleon.
1798: Napoleonic Wars - General Louis Alexandre Berthier takes Rome, exiles Pope Pius VI and dissolves the Papal Govt. and its territories, the Papal States (Patrimony of Peter). A Roman Republic is declared but destined to be short-lived.
1800: A new Pope is appointed and Pius VII ascends the Papal throne
1801: Concordat between France and the restored Papacy.
1804: Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Holy Roman Emperor and successor to Charlemagne by Pope Pius VII. Later defeated by the British. Developed the Code Napoleon (Napoleonic legal code).
1806: End of the Holy Roman Empire.
1814-15: The Congress of Vienna restores the Papal States to the Papacy.
1822: The Holy Alliance issue the Secret Treaty of Verona undertaking to destroy or prevent the development of representative democratic governments across the world, especially in those colonial territories under the control of, eg. Catholic Spain and Portugal.
1848: Revolutions across Europe
1870: The Risorgimento creates the unified Kingdom of Italy absorbing the Papal States into Italy.
1914-18: World War I - c. 15-18 million killed in the war.
1917: The Russian Revolution and the foundation of the Soviet Union (USSR).
1918: End of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.
1922: End of the Ottoman Empire
1926: Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (of Austria) and the Pan-Europa Movement.
1929: The Lateran Treaty signed by Cardinal Gasparri and Fascist premier Benito Mussolini establishes the Vatican City State in Rome as a sovereign state separate from Italy.
1929-33: The Wall St crash and the Great Depression.
1933: Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) and Reichs
Vice-Chancellor Franz Von Papen sign the Concordat between the Nazi state (Third
Reich) and the Vatican. It was Hitler's first international treaty. Von Papen
and the Catholic Centre Party (Zentrum) had enabled Hitler and the Nazis to
consolidate power in Germany through their support. In exchange for this Von
Papen got the Vice-Chancellorship and Hitler was made Chancellor and took on
dictatorial powers through the annulment of the previous Weimar constitution.
1936: Nazi Germany and fascist Japan sign a co-operation agreement (later included as part of the 1940 Tripartite Pact).
1939: Official start of World War II in Europe when Germany attacks Poland. In truth, the War began in 1937 after Japan launched an undeclared war in China. Later both conflicts in Europe and Asia were to merge into the World War, particularly after the Soviet Union and the United States were attacked by the Fascist Axis powers in 1941.
1940: The Tripartite Agreement is signed by Nazi Germany, fascist Japan and Italy. Basically Japan wanted to do in Asia as Hitler wanted to do in Europe - conquer a unified regional empire under their fascist rule, as a means to the Axis plans of a new order of world domination and enslavement.
1941: Spain's Fascist ruler, General Franco signs a Concordat with the Papacy, later renewed after the War in 1953.
1942: Declaration by the Allied Powers (United Nations) based on the 1941 Atlantic Charter, after the US and the Soviet Union had been attacked by the Axis powers in 1941, and thus forced into entering the War.
1939-45: World War II - c. 55-60 million die in the war against Fascism, with about 30 million refugees in Europe alone. The Holocaust (in which the Nazis and their collaborators had murdered 6 million Jews), and the atomic bomb which ended the War. Stalin, Mao and Hitler were responsible for the deaths of c. 40 million people each (or about 120-140 million in total) during their governments. More people were killed in the 20th Century than in any previous century, both during and after WWII.
1945: Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin attend the Yalta
Conference to decide the post-War division of Europe after the defeat of Nazi
Germany. Europe is subsequently divided into the Soviet bloc (Warsaw Pact
nations of E. Europe) and the western alliance later leading to the WEU/EC and
(c. 1950's-1989: Cold War) The post-War collapse of the European Colonial world empires begins - British Empire, France's colonial empire, the Spanish and Portuguese empires, etc. A quick comparison shows that the Soviet empire in E. Europe was to last roughly 70 years (1917 to 1989 say), while the Catholic Spanish and Portuguese colonial world empires lasted about 500 years (1500s to c. 2010 say). The British Empire (Commonwealth) lasted roughly 200-300 years and was the largest and most important of these colonial world empires.
1945: The United Nations (UN), World Bank and IMF are established (1944:
Bretton Woods Conference), to prevent another war between the major powers and
to stabilize the world economy.
1946: Churchill's Zurich speech on a 'united states of Europe' based on continental Europe.
1947+: The post-War collapse of the European colonial world empires as many of these former colonies emerge into independence.
1949: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) established.
1949: The Council of Europe (CoE) is established with the aim to reunify the nations of Europe.
1950: Robert Schuman Declaration on Europe.
1957: The Treaty of Rome establishes the European Economic Community (EEC).
1964: The Holy See (Vatican state) gains 'Permanent observer status' at the United Nations.
1965: Vatican II Council and the new focus on the unification of Christians (ecumenism) but under Papal primacy.
1973: Britain joins the EEC.
1984: The US Reagan administration establishes formal diplomatic relations
with the Vatican State.
1989: Pope John Paul II meets Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
1989-91: End of the Soviet empire in E. Europe paves the way for the enlargement and reunification of Europe.
Ongoing collapse of the former European imperial powers - The British Empire (Commonwealth), the Spanish and Portuguese colonial world empires, France's colonial empire (Alliance française), Netherlands, Belgium, etc.
Sept. 11, 1990: President George H Bush delivers his 'New World Order' speech to Congress.
1993: The EEC/European Community becomes the European Union (EU).
1996: Russia joins the Council of Europe.
1997: NATO-Russia Council established a consultative partnership (non-voting) role for Russia with NATO.
2000: The EU Nice Treaty sets the course for enlargement of the bloc.
Pope John Paul II meets Jorg Haider of the far-right neo-Nazi Austria Freedom Party. Meets Russia's President Vladimir Putin. The Vatican releases its document 'Memory and Reconciliation for the Faults of the Past' apologising for its persecutions.
Sept. 11, 2001: The US terrorist attacks and the subsequent 'War on Terror'. 2003: Pre-emptive military action commences against Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
1 Jan 2002: Launch of the Euro Single Currency in 12 of the current 15 EU nation states, replacing their old national currencies.
28 May 2002: NATO Rome Summit, attended by US President George W Bush, Blair
and NATO heads of government. NATO-Russia Council established. Bush meets the
Pope in Rome after the summit.
2003: 10 countries sign their Accession Treaties to join the EU in 2004.
Former French President Valery Giscard D'Estang and the Convention on the Future of Europe draft an EU Constitution to replace the original 1957 Treaty of Rome which established the EEC. This is yet to be finalized but is expected to be presented for ratification by the 25 EU member states around June 2004, soon after enlargement.
Pope John Paul II calls for an explicit formal recognition of Europe's Christian (Catholic?) roots and heritage in the EU Constitution. The issue of 'God' in the EU constitution?
22 February 2003: UK PM Tony Blair meets with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
1 Jan 2004: Pope John Paul II calls for a 'new international order' in his
2004 World Day of Peace Message.
2 April 2004: The 7 NATO accession countries from the former Soviet bloc nations of E. Europe join the strategic alliance ahead of EU enlargement in May. NATO currently has 26 member states including the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Italy along with others in Europe.
1 May 2004: The 10 accession countries, most from the former Soviet bloc in E. Europe, join the EU bringing its enlarged membership to 25 states. Bulgaria and Romania joined later, bringing the members to 27 so far, with others, eg. the Balkan states, set to join in the near future. ( Russia to join the EU eventually ?)
1 July 2004: The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution giving the Holy See an 'enhanced status' in UN work and policy making.
29 October 2004: The 25 heads of government of the enlarged Union sign the EU constitution in Rome, but the treaty remains yet to be ratified by all 25 EU member states. (Russia to join the EU in the near future?)
24 April 2005: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as Pope Benedict XVI
following his appointment by the College of Cardinals, after the death of Pope
John Paul II. Reiterates calls for the unification of all Christians.
2006: Pope Benedict XVI repeats the Vatican call for a 'new world order'. Meets separately with the UN General Assembly president and UK PM Tony Blair at the Vatican. Meetings with other world leaders in subsequent years, including US President George W Bush, former UK PM Tony Blair, PM Gordon Brown, Australian PM Kevin Rudd, French Presidents Nicholas Sarkozy, Valery Giscard D'Estang, and Jaques Chirac; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EPP chairman in the EU Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering, (and EU Commission President and former Portuguese PM Jose Manuel Barroso?), among others.
2007: Berlin Declaration on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and
the agreement of the new EU Reform Treaty (Lisbon Treaty) to replace the EU
Constitutional treaty which had been rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands previously. The
Lisbon Treaty essentially kept the same provisions about the distribution of
legislative and executive powers within the EU governance structures as the EU Constitution, but only the Rep. of Ireland was to have a referendum. Ratification of this Treaty is to be mostly by
parliamentary decree instead. The Lisbon Treaty creates an EU President and Foreign Minister, i.e. moves the EU towards a more centralized form of government.
Extension of the Holy See's diplomatic privileges and immunities as a permanent observer at the UN. There are approximately 192 nations currently represented in the UN, and the Holy See (Vatican State) has formal diplomatic relations with most of them, but not yet all. It also has observer status in many other international inter-governmental organisations of various kinds, such as the OSCE, ILO, WFP, etc. It has also recently joined Eurojust (2009).
2008: Papal trip to the US. Pope Benedict XVI meets President Bush at the White House and speaks at the UN and before a public audience in New York. Later meets President Nicolas Sarkozy in France and speaks at the Elysée Palais. Attacks the constitutional separation of Church and State in various speeches. The EU member states begin ratification of the EU Reform Treaty (Lisbon Treaty), including Britain and France, but many without a public referendum, i.e. by parliamentary vote instead.
2008/9: US President Barak Obama replaces George W Bush, after winning the US presidential elections on an endorsement from Senator Ted Kennedy (D).
Global financial crisis prompts calls for a new financial governance regime to replace the post-War Bretton-Woods system. Possible scenarios include a strengthened regulatory mandate for the IMF. Ongoing ratification of the EU Lisbon Treaty, despite being rejected by voters in their referendum in the Rep. of Ireland. Britain, despite election promises made by the Govt., is not having a referendum on this replacement for the rejected 2004 EU Constitutional treaty. They argue that the 2007 Lisbon Treaty is not the same as the EU Constitution and so should not be subject to a referendum.
NATO and the EU renew formal association consultations with Russia. Switzerland joins the EU Schengen Area borderless zone.
2009: UK PM Gordon Brown and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meet (separately) with Pope Benedict XVI.
1 April 2009: Albania and Croatia join NATO. (Ongoing EU and NATO enlargement will presumably eventually encompass Russia, which will probably complete this process in the near future).
29 March-5 April 2009: Separate G20 (London), NATO (Kiel and Strasbourg) and EU (Prague) Summits.
Note: This is only a rough outline of events and can by no means be taken to be comprehensive. The 3 final world powers that were to come now exist, albeit not yet in their final form and are still undergoing changes that will be completed in the future. Of these, only one is a nation-state as such.
(Further updated timelines may be done as separate pages).
Thursday, 13 December 2007
The treaty was signed at Lisbon's historic Jeronimos Monastery
EU leaders have signed a treaty in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, that is expected to greatly alter the way the 27-nation body operates.
The treaty creates an EU president and a more powerful foreign policy chief.
The document, signed at a ceremony at the city's historic Jeronimos Monastery, also scraps veto powers in many policy areas.
It is a replacement for the EU constitution, which was abandoned following French and Dutch opposition.
EU leaders insist that the two texts are in no way equivalent.
But the Lisbon treaty incorporates some of the draft constitution's key reforms, and several governments face domestic pressure over the document.
KEY LISBON TREATY REFORMS:
- Creates new European Council president
- New foreign policy supremo to increase EU profile
- Commissioners reduced from 27 to 18
- Removes national vetoes in around 50 policy areas
- Voting weights between member states redistributed
- No reference to EU symbols such as the flag and anthem
Treaty faces referendum in Ireland and must be ratified by all other EU parliaments
In a speech before the signing, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on European leaders to use the treaty to make freedom, prosperity and solidarity an everyday reality for all European citizens.
"From this old continent, a new Europe is born," he said.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said the treaty would create a more modern, efficient and democratic union.
"The world needs a stronger Europe," he said.
The leaders signed the treaty, translated into the EU's 23 official languages, using specially engraved silver fountain pens as a choir sang Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
UK (un-elected) Prime Minister Gordon Brown signed the treaty later in the day after missing the ceremony, citing a prior engagement in the British parliament.
Mr Brown signed the treaty hours after fellow EU leaders
Foreign Secretary David Miliband attended the signing ceremony.
The UK's opposition Conservatives accused Mr Brown of "not having the guts" to sign the treaty, which is politically controversial in Britain, in public.
Having started this year with a celebration of its 50th birthday, the EU hopes the signing of the Lisbon treaty will end the serious mid-life crisis brought about by the death of the constitution, the BBC's Oana Lungescu reports.
There will be a lot of relief, said a senior European diplomat, but also some apprehension about what happens next.
Ireland is the only country planning to hold a referendum, but most voters there seem either undecided or indifferent.
Parliaments in Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark are also expected to give a turbulent reception to the 250-page text.
Symbol of Portuguese history
However, Germany, France and Poland have pledged to be among the first to ratify it, so that the new reforms can come into force in 2009 as planned.
The treaty is a slimmed-down version of the European constitution, with a more modest name and without any reference to EU symbols such as the flag and anthem.
It is meant to ease decision-making, by scrapping national vetoes in some 50 policy areas, including sensitive ones such as police and judicial co-operation.
There will also be a foreign policy chief, controlling a big budget and thousands of diplomats and officials, and a permanent EU president appointed for up to five years.
But some already fear that instead of giving Europe a strong single voice in the world, the new posts will only generate more rivalry, our correspondent adds.
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Mr Giscard d'Estaing says the treaty is "impenetrable for the public"
The new EU Reform Treaty is effectively the same as the Constitution it was designed to replace, according to a leading architect of the constitution.
The treaty differs from the abandoned constitution in "approach rather than content", says former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
Mr Giscard d'Estaing led a committee drafting the constitution, rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2004.
Several European governments hope to avoid a referendum on the new treaty.
In an article in the UK newspaper, The Independent, Mr Giscard d'Estaing says the treaty makes important concessions to the UK.
The UK, alongside Denmark and The Netherlands, is among the countries whose governments oppose a referendum.
Mr Giscard d'Estaing points out that the UK will not be bound by the treaty's rules on human rights and judicial harmonisation, and would retain the right to "duck in and out of the system as it pleases".
British Euro-sceptics want the government to hold a referendum on the treaty, arguing it is no different to the constitution.
However, the government of (un-elected) Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants the treaty to be passed by parliament alone.
Mr Giscard d'Estaing says the "proposed institutional reforms" of the rejected constitution can still be found in the new treaty.
The authors of the new treaty, he says, have taken the original draft constitution and "blown it apart into separate elements".
They have then "re-attached them, one by one, to existing treaties".
Changes to the original constitution - such as jettisoning references to a European flag and anthem - were made to "head off any threat of referenda", Mr Giscard d'Estaing says.
The EU Reform Treaty was agreed earlier this month at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
The document aims to streamline decision-making within an enlarged EU of 27 member nations.
It was written to replace an EU draft constitution that was overwhelmingly rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2004.
In his article for The Independent, Mr Giscard d'Estaing says the treaty was drafted by legal experts in a process very different from the "public" debates that yielded the constitution.
He describes the treaty as "a catalogue of amendments" that is impenetrable for the public.
The Lisbon Treaty signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month is no different in its foreign policy aspects from the EU constitution on which Labour promised a referendum, an influential MPs' committee has said.
The finding by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee comes a day before MPs begin the lengthy process of ratifying the controversial Treaty through debate and votes in Parliament, without the national referendum demanded by Conservatives.
In a report, the Labour-dominated Committee accused the Government of seeking to downplay the significance of changes like the creation of a new EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security, with his own diplomatic External Action Service.
It warned that playing down the importance of the new institutions was "unlikely to be beneficial to the UK's position in Europe" and called on ministers publicly to acknowledge their true significance.
Mr Brown argues that no referendum is needed on the Lisbon Treaty because it does not have the constitutional character of the document rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.
But the committee heard expert evidence that the only differences between the documents, in the area of foreign policy, were the addition of two non-legally binding declarations proposed by the UK and the change of the title Minister for Foreign Affairs to High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The committee said: "We conclude that there is no material difference between the provisions on foreign affairs in the Constitutional Treaty which the Government made subject to approval in a referendum and those in the Lisbon Treaty on which a referendum is being denied."
The creation of the High Representative and External Action Service represent "major innovations in the EU's foreign policy-making machinery" with the potential to give the EU "a more streamlined international presence" and lead to "more coherent development and implementation of external policy", found the report, entitled Foreign Policy Aspects Of The Treaty Of Lisbon.
But it added: "The Government is underestimating, and certainly downplaying in public, the significance of their creation. This is unlikely to be beneficial to the UK's position in the EU. We recommend that the Government should publicly acknowledge the significance of the foreign policy aspects of the Lisbon Treaty."
The committee welcomed provisions in the Treaty which strip officials in the European Commission of the ability to make proposals on Common Foreign and Security Policy proposals. This ensured that foreign and defence policy would be driven by the elected heads of government of the member-states, meeting in the European Council.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
The EU Treaty must be ratified by each of the 27 member countries
The UK has officially ratified the European Union's Lisbon Treaty.
The documents were deposited with the Italian foreign affairs ministry in Rome on Wednesday.
The move came despite doubts over its future after the "no" vote in the Irish referendum. All EU states must ratify the treaty for it to come into force.
The EU treaty has proved controversial with unsuccessful attempts in Parliament and the courts to force a referendum to be held on it.
Conservative MP Bill Cash sought a judicial review of the ratification process after the rejection from Ireland.
And two High Court judges dismissed a claim by millionaire businessman Stuart Wheeler that there was a "legitimate expectation" of a public vote.
A total breach of trust with the British people
Shadow foreign secretary
Mr Cash branded the ratification a "gross impertinence", while Mr Wheeler described the ratification as "absolutely atrocious behaviour".
On Friday he will seek permission from a Court of Appeal judge to appeal against that decision.
He said he believed although the "instrument of ratification" has been deposited in Rome, the government still had the right to withdraw it and reverse its decision.
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said the prime minister had "no democratic or moral authority to sign Britain up to the renamed EU constitution".
It was "a total breach of trust with the British people and a flagrant breach of his solemn election promise to the British people", Mr Hague added.
The Tories are playing games and engaging in political stunts as usual
He branded the government "arrogant and out of touch", and accused it of "joining in the ugly bullying of the Irish people, who have clearly rejected this treaty".
But Commons leader Harriet Harman insisted it was "in Britain's interest to be at the heart of Europe and it's in Europe's interest that Britain should play a leading part".
And Europe minister Jim Murphy said it was right to ratify the treaty "since both Houses of Parliament voted by substantial majorities in favour of it" and because it was "a good treaty" for Britain.
"The Tories are playing games and engaging in political stunts as usual. The fact is that the Tories cannot be trusted to safeguard Britain's interests in Europe," he added.
The "instruments of ratification" were signed by the Queen and Foreign Secretary David Miliband before being deposited in Rome.
These documents are on chlorine-free paper, designed not to deteriorate over time.
They were then sealed and bound in blue leather before being lodged in Rome.
The treaty sets out a way forward for the 27-member and replaces the EU constitution which was abandoned after "no" votes in French and Dutch referendums.
Opponents argue it is so similar to the constitution that promises to hold a referendum on the constitution should apply to the treaty.
But ministers say the two differ and a referendum is not needed as the treaty does not have constitutional implications.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
The French lower house applauds after last week's vote
France has formally ratified the Lisbon Treaty, with its publication in the country's official journal.
It is the fifth country to approve the reform treaty and the first of the EU's founder members to do so.
The French parliament voted to adopt the document last week, almost three years after a French No dealt a fatal blow to the European Constitution.
In a televised address, President Nicolas Sarkozy said "thanks to this success... France is back in Europe".
He had refused to put the Treaty to a public vote, provoking the anger of opposition Socialist MPs.
Before it could be adopted by parliament, the upper and lower houses met in Congress at Versailles to delete a reference in the French constitution to the ill-fated EU Constitutional Treaty.
All 27 member states must approve the Treaty before it can come into force as scheduled in 2009.
France joins Hungary, Malta, Slovenia and Romania as the countries to have ratified it so far. Ireland is the only EU member state due to hold a referendum.
Is liberal democracy being surreptitiously replaced with something else, such as an unaccountable technocracy ?
[ Main Contents ]