Fireworks erupt at the end of a ceremony in Lisbon to mark the inauguration of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, December 1 2009.
The Lisbon Treaty, which came into effect on December 1 2009, will mean new institutional arrangements and rules for the bloc that will make it better prepared for today’s world, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister and European Commissioner-designate Roumyana Zheleva said.
The treaty was "a symbol of our unity and clear evidence that where (EU) member states pool their efforts, the goals are achievable," Zheleva said.
The wide range of instruments to implement European policies provided for in the treaty meant that member states would achieve closer integration and the EU would be "closer to its citizens," she said.
Zheleva said that the Lisbon Treaty provided for increasing the EU’s role on the international scene.
Bulgaria would continue to contribute actively to the development of the European project, said Zheleva, who has been nominated by European Commission President to be European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
A December 1 ceremony in Lisbon to inaugurate the treaty was attended by the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, EC President Barroso, the incoming permanent President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, prime minister José Luis Zapatero of Spain, which will take over the rotating Presidency in the new year, and Portugal’s prime minister José Sócrates and president Aníbal Cavaco Silva.
"Today marks a new page in the history of European co-operation," said Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister of Sweden, holder of the rotating presidency.
"We turn the page towards a better functioning, more transparent and modernised European Union. We turn the page towards a European Union that can better cope with the challenges ahead of us. And we turn a page away from the institutional uncertainty that has set the European agenda for too long," Reinfeldt said.
Buzek told the ceremony: "The period of auto reflection in Europe is over - now we have to make use of all the instruments and institutions that the new Treaty puts at our disposal. Our citizens expect this of us, the European Council, European Commission, national governments, national parliaments and the European Parliament, to do this. This treaty will help us deliver on these expectations".
"We will be able to speak with a clearer voice to the outside world, and we will be able to promote our values in this globalised world, values of solidarity inside and outside the EU," he said.
"Values of solidarity, not only within the European Union but also with our neighbours, and with the outside world. Values of human rights, and of a particular type of social model. Values of free trade, but also aid to the less developed countries in this world," Buzek said.