President Klaus has signed the Treaty and David Cameron is expected to make an announcement at 4pm tomorrow about what he will do next.
There's zero chance he will call a referendum on the now-ratified Lisbon Treaty (to come into force by 1 December), but he must still pledge to hold a referendum on reform of the EU. A referendum on future treaties simply will not cut it, since Lisbon allows for EU integration to take place without the need for further treaties, and a mere 'manifesto mandate' to EU reform is woefully inadequate - poll after poll shows the vast majority of voters from all parties want to be consulted.
Yes, it was Labour and the Lib Dems who got us into this mess by reneging on their promise of a referendum, but the Tories must now do the right thing and give the British people a say on what is feasible and realistic - a package of reforms which they could seek to lever in using upcoming negotiations on the EU budget.
If you haven't seen our press release today, here's our take in a nutshell:
Following President Klaus' signature of the Lisbon Treaty today, Open Europe calls on the British Conservative Party to now pledge to hold a referendum on reform of the European Union.
The potential election of a new Conservative government will coincide with the opening of EU budget negotiations, where discussions will be held about how much each country should pay into the EU over the period 2014 to 2020.
The UK has a veto over these negotiations, and should be prepared to use it to fight for a package of reforms which must be fleshed out between now and the election.
This Reform Package should be put to the British people in a referendum, with a question along the lines of: "Are you in favour or against withholding agreement to the EU budget until the European Reform Package has been adopted?"
Tomorrow, Open Europe will publish the first in a series of papers looking at which policy areas the Conservatives should propose to tackle, and how. The first paper will look at EU social and employment policy, which currently accounts for a staggering 25 percent of the total cost of regulation in the UK.
Open Europe Director Lorraine Mullally said:
"Now that Lisbon is a done deal, the Conservative Party must pledge to hold a referendum on EU reform. They must not follow Labour and the Lib Dems and go back on their promise to give people a say on the future of the EU."
"The public are crying out to be consulted. The Conservatives should now announce a referendum on a package of meaningful EU reforms which they should draw up carefully over the next weeks and months. Linking their ideas for reform to the EU budget, a Conservative government could be in a strong position to work with key allies in Europe for a better, more democratic and modern European Union."
"A simple 'manifesto mandate' for these things will not be enough - people want their long overdue say, and the Conservatives should give them it. A strong mandate from the people will strengthen the Conservatives' position in Europe when the time comes."