After two and half years of institutional uncertainties following the rejection of the Draft European Constitution by the French and Dutch electorates in 2005, the 27 member states of the European Union agreed in October 2007 on a so-called "simplified" text: the Treaty of Lisbon or "The Treaty modifying the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community". Signed on 13 December last, this treaty is currently in process of ratification in the various member states (the French ratified it in parliament in February 2008).
What is the nature of this document? What are the main differences from the previous Draft Constitution? In what ways will it modify the operation of European institutions and with what consequences, particularly at the political level? Robert Toulemon, an astute observer of European construction, here offers us a detailed analysis of the Treaty of Lisbon, regretting, as he does so, that the prospects for genuine political union have receded somewhat.