Main points of the EU's 'Lisbon Treaty'

AP News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2009 4:49 PM

The main points of the Lisbon Treaty which aims to simplify how the 27-nation bloc will be run in the decades ahead. The treaty came into force Tuesday.

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POWER AND INFLUENCE IN AN EXPANDED CLUB:

The EU will have a president for 2 1/2-year terms and a more powerful foreign policy chief who answers to the EU governments, but is a member of the European Commission, the EU executive. That person will head an extensive network of diplomats and civil servants.

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DECISION-MAKING:

The treaty will mean the EU can take decisions by majority rather than unanimous voting in 50 new areas including judicial and police cooperation and economic policy. Britain and Ireland get opt-outs in judicial and police areas. Unanimity is still required in foreign and defense policy, social security, taxation and culture.

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FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS:

A 50-article charter contains a list of well-established rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, but also includes the right to shelter, education, collective labor bargaining and fair working conditions. Worried by the impact on business and their legal systems, Britain, the Czech Republic and Poland obtained opt-outs.

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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:

The European Parliament gets more power _ especially in justice and interior affairs _ to influence or reject EU legislation and trade pacts with other parts of the world. The EU assembly will have its membership capped at 751 members.