The Lisbon Treaty and the Area of Criminal Law and Justice

Europarättslig Tidskrift, Vol. 11, p. 616, 2008

Posted: 7 Nov 2009

Date Written: May 6, 2008


This paper aims to provide an overview of the constitutional framework of criminal law and the Lisbon Treaty. As is well known, the failure of the Constitutional Treaty (CT) in 2005 resulted in a 'pause for reflection'. This period for thought and retreat was however brought to an end by the German presidency and the European Council of June 2007. There was not to be any resurrected CT but a new Reform Treaty, which was subsequently named as the Treaty of Lisbon. There has been much debate – in particular, on the political battlefield – of whether this Treaty simply reinforces what the ill-fated CT failed to achieve or whether the changes proposed by this Treaty are more far-reaching than mere cosmetic changes. Yet the Lisbon Treaty no longer claims to reflect the will of the citizens and States of Europe to build a ‘common future’. It also skips not only, as one commentator put it, ‘the semantic spectacle introducing the CT with the invocation of the peoples of Europe ’, but also the anthem and the flag. An important novelty of the Lisbon Treaty is however the emphasis of the Union’s humanitarian values. Indeed the preamble of this Treaty states that it draws inspiration not only from the cultural and religious inheritance of Europe but also from its humanist values more broadly. Another innovation compared to the CT is the increased focus on the national parliaments in the legislative process as guardians of the principle of subsidiarity.

Keywords: Lisbon Treaty, EU criminal law, EU law

Suggested Citation

Herlin-Karnell, Ester, The Lisbon Treaty and the Area of Criminal Law and Justice (May 6, 2008). Europarättslig Tidskrift, Vol. 11, p. 616, 2008 . Available at SSRN:

Ester Herlin-Karnell (Contact Author)

Uppsala University ( email )

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20

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