France ratifies EU's Lisbon Treaty

Other News Materials 14 February 2008 13:06 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - France on Thursday became the fifth country, and the first EU founder-nation, to ratify the EU Lisbon Treaty.

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty became official with its publication, including the signature of President Nicolas Sarkozy, in the government's official Gazette.

The announcement capped a complicated procedure that involved amending the French Constitution and getting the approval of Parliament. The two houses of the French Parliament had overwhelmingly approved the ratification on February 7 and 8.

The ratification of the reform treaty came more than two and a half years after France became the first country to reject an earlier version of the pact, the EU constitutional treaty.

On May 29, 2005, in a nationwide referendum, French voters resoundingly rejected the EU constitutional treaty by 54.6 to 45.4 per cent, ushering in a period of uncertainty in Europe.

Polls had shown that a majority of the French people also wanted to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but Sarkozy, who envisions himself playing a major role in European politics, did not want to take the chance.

The Lisbon Treaty, which among other things foresees the election of an EU president for a term of 30 months, has now been ratified by Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Romania and France.

If it is ratified by all 27 member states, it will go into effect on January 1, 2009.