Speech by President Charles Michel at the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty

Source: European Council i, published on Sunday, December 1 2019.

This morning we meet in a place laden with history and with emotion, and it reminds us of the strength and richness of the European project, in all its diversity, its traditions and its vitality, and of the energy invested in our common project.

There is so much to discover in every corner of Europe. This diversity living inside our common "European Identity" is what binds us together. Along with our values and institutions, it is what makes us Europeans this special feeling of "being European".

We have overcome many obstacles to be standing here, prosperous and free in the heart of Europe. The Treaty of Lisbon, we celebrate today, clearly identifies this diversity as crucial part of our European DNA. It added another building block to the architecture of today's European Union making possible much of the progress in the EU. And its goal was to "enhance the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and improve the coherence of its action."

I believe it succeeded on both points. It is just as relevant today as it was 10 years ago giving us the tools to tackle our modern-day challenges.

One important reform is especially timely our common fight against climate change. The treaty gave the EU a new legal "personality", allowing us to sign vital international agreements, like the Paris Agreement.

The Treaty also gave democracy a new face, strengthened transparency and threw open the doors to Brussels law-making. Ministers of the Council and members of the Parliament now legislate in public, for all to see. That is essential in an open, thriving democracy. The Treaty also helped synchronise Europe's foreign and security policy by establishing the European External Action Service. Today we can present a unified face to the rest of the world. With more weight and greater coherence in a rules-based world. Let's do it!

Today we do more than look back, we celebrate a new beginning, with great enthusiasm and hope. Because we are starting the next 5 years on solid ground. We are advancing our own ambitious European agenda. The Lisbon Treaty has clearly pushed us in that direction and anchored our Union firmly into the twenty-first century.

Let us draw inspiration from this Treaty and from the founding fathers, to transform positive reforms into daily realities for every citizen. I am sure that Europeans expect a lot from us. Their expectations are fair, high and ambitious. Let’s spare no effort and work together, as a team, to bring this extra spark of spirit to the European project that unites us.