EU leaders agree on landmark treaty
( RIA Novosti ) - Leaders from the EU's 27 member states reached on early Friday a deal on a landmark reform treaty.
The 250-page reform treaty is to be signed on December 13 and then considered for approval by member states' respective national parliaments. The document enters into force in the second half of 2009 and is intended to replace the Constitution treaty rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. The document abandons any mention of the recognition of a European anthem and flag.
As a result of negotiations at the summit, Italy gained an extra seat in the slimmed-down European Parliament. Italy is now set to lose five seats of the 78 it presently has in the EU assembly, maintaining parity with Britain. Proposed changes to the EU assembly allow for a drop in the number of members from 785 to 750 plus the president. This would mean fewer seats for 17 of the 27 EU member states.
Poland won its battle to maintain the current system giving it voting weight out of proportion to its population until 2014, plus safeguards for three years year.
After this date, EU decisions will be taken by majorities representing 55 percent of member states and 65 percent of the bloc's 490 million population. Warsaw was also granted a permanent senior post at the EU's Court of Justice.