From the Document: "The Lisbon Treaty, the latest institutional reform treaty of the European Union (EU), went into effect on December 1, 2009. The document was signed by the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member countries in December 2007. The process of completing ratification by each individual member country lasted nearly two years, concluding with ratification by the Czech Republic on November 3, 2009. The Lisbon Treaty reforms the EU's governing institutions and decision-making process to enable the EU to operate more effectively. The treaty grew out of the proposed 'constitutional treaty' that foundered after French and Dutch voters rejected it in referendums in 2005. The Lisbon Treaty seeks to give the EU a stronger and more coherent voice with the creation of a new position, President of the European Council. The first holder of this office will be former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy. He will chair the activities of the 27 EU heads of state or government, working to facilitate consensus, coordinate the activities of the Council, and ensure policy continuity. Additionally, the Lisbon Treaty creates the new position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, a de facto EU foreign minister who may increase the weight and visibility of the EU on the world stage. […] This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 111th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21618
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/