At the end of the meeting of the European Council on 16 and 17 June 2005, the Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the European Union adopted a Declaration on the ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Heads of State or Government and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the 25 Member States of the European Union signed the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe in Rome on 29 October 2004.
This followed on from the agreement reached on 18 June 2004 at the Intergovernmental Conference, on the basis of work done by the European Convention between February 2002 and July 2003.
The Constitution for Europe enshrines the values on which the Union is founded, such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. It also introduces further rights for citizens, with the Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding for the institutions of the European Union and Member States when they are applying the law of the Union.
The Constitution strengthens the Union's democratic basis by giving more powers to the European Parliament and to national Parliaments, and by providing new opportunities for citizens to participate.
It also strengthens the visibility and efficiency of the Union, and promotes increased cooperation in justice and home affairs and in the common foreign and security policy.
It also introduces simplifications and clarifications which make the Union and its functioning easier to understand.
The main stages in the institutional reform of the European Union