Austria ratifies Lisbon Treaty
Austria on Wednesday ratified the European Union's Treaty of Lisbon amid opposition calls for a referendum. ( dpa )
The EU's reform treaty was ratified with the votes of the country's Social Democrat-Conservative coalition and the opposition Green Party.
Two small right-wing parties, supported by several citizens' initiatives, voted against the treaty, which was approved by a large majority of 151 votes against 28.
Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer praised the Lisbon Treaty, adding that Austria was among those countries which profited most from is EU membership.
During a colourful eight-hour debate ahead of the vote, complete with the opposition waving football scarves in Austria's colours and handing a muzzle to the chancellor, Freedom Party leader Heinz- Christian Strache slammed the treaty as a "deception" of Austria's people.
In Austria, a strong Euro-sceptic undercurrent prevails, despite two-thirds of the population voting in favour of EU membership in 1995 in a referendum.
On Thursday, Save Austria, a citizen's initiative, presented more than 100,000 signatures to parliament, demanding a referendum on the treaty.
Signed in 2007, the Lisbon Treaty is set to streamline the EU decision-making processes.
Austria was the eighth country to ratify the treaty. EU leaders expect the reform paper to come into force by January 1, 2009, provided ratification by all 27 EU member states. Ireland is the only country to hold a referendum on the treaty.