Lisbon Treaty: 10 Years Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
On 1 December 2019, the new European Commission under the lead of its new President, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The 1st of December 2019 also marked ten years of the integration of the former intergovernmental cooperation scheme in justice and home affairs (the so-called third pillar of the Maastricht Treaty) into a full-fledged EU policy with the aim of establishing an area of freedom, security and justice. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights also became legally binding.
The last ten years brought about a number of achievements in justice and home affairs, e.g.:
- Better connectivity of law enforcement authorities by means of the next generation of the Schengen Information System;
- Increased efforts in the fight against crime, including sexual abuse and exploitation of children, trafficking in human beings, terrorism, and cybercrime;
- Completion of the instruments on judicial cooperation in criminal matters, e.g., the European Investigation Order, the European Protection Order, and the Regulation on Freezing and Confiscation;
- Improved data protection by means of the data protection law enforcement Directive (2016/680).
On the occasion of the ceremony, Ursula von der Leyen stated:
“There could be no better day for the new College of Commissioners to begin our work than this anniversary. Starting today, we are the guardians of the Treaties, the custodians of the Lisbon spirit. I feel this responsibility. It is a responsibility towards our predecessors, our founding fathers and mothers, and all that they have achieved. But it is also a responsibility towards our children. The responsibility to leave them a Union that is stronger than the one we have inherited.”