EU Lisbon Treaty comes into force
BRUSSELS: Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday hailed "a new era for Europe" as the bloc's reforming Lisbon Treaty entered into force creating the first EU president and a foreign policy supremo.
"Today EU citizens are heading into a new era. Today is the first day for a more efficient, more modern and more democratic EU, for all citizens," said Reinfeldt, whose country retains the old-style rotating European Union presidency until the end of the year.
Reinfeldt was later to attend a celebration of the Lisbon treaty's passage in the Portuguese capital where it was first signed, ending many years of institutional navel-gazing in the EU.
The new EU president, former Belgian PM Herman Van Rompuy will also be there along with Britain's Catherine Ashton who becomes the bloc's foreign policy chief.
Both were chosen by EU leaders at a summit earlier this month, though some observers have criticised the choice of two relatively-low profile candidates to lead Europe into its new era.
"We are now making the EU stronger by building better institutions for dealing with foreign policy, both locally in countries around the world and in Brussels. This also gives Europe increased weight," assured Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.