Palazzo del Quirinale 04/12/2009

Joint Statement by the Presidents of the Italian Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany

The long and troubled ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty has finally come to an end. The new institutional mandates therein provided have been assigned. The new Commissioners under the Presidency of José Manuel Barroso have been appointed.

Therefore, a new phase in the life of the European Union has begun, in a deeply changed and fully evolving world framework. Europe can reaffirm its historical role only by strengthening its unity, its decision-making and action capacity, by renewing and increasing the efficacy of its model of sustainable growth, social progress, democracy of participation and rights. Europe can take on the role of global actor on the world scene only by speaking with one single voice, only by formulating a common foreign and security policy.

The first imperative consists in fully, concretely and coherently deploying the new opportunities that the Lisbon Treaty offers to the Union in order to face the challenges of our times.

Integration has to - and presently can - make a leap forward. In this connection, a stronger common political will has to be expressed. Once again, the development of the integration process demands to explicitly resort to the Community method, rather than to a standard practice of intergovernmental agreements. To this end, the peculiar role of each of the three institutions - Commission, Council and Parliament -, as they were reshaped by the Lisbon Treaty, must be relaunched in order to allow them to work in a climate of suitable dialectics and cooperation.

The political orientations of the new Commission presented last September by President Barroso may represent the basis for a clarifying debate. In particular, the effort - to be launched without delay - to define and organise the European External Action Service will be crucial.

The effective relaunch of the European integration, and the implementation of the already defined common policies, demand more than ever forms of shared sovereignty, decisions by majority voting according to the provisions of the Treaties in force, including the Lisbon Treaty, and enhanced cooperations.

The alternative to this courageous relaunch is a severe risk of decline and irrelevance of Europe in our present world.

The commitment of Germany and Italy on these lines has its roots in their history as founding Countries of the European Community; it can rely on the uninterrupted support that both provided for decades to the development of the European construction, and on a renewed collaboration of ideas and will that, in our capacity as Presidents of the Federal Republic of Germany and of the Italian Republic, we are convinced we can reaffirm by placing reliance on our Governments and on our Parliaments.