[JURIST] Legal advisers to the 27 countries belonging to the European Union (EU) [official website] agreed Tuesday that the proposed EU Reform Treaty [PDF text; EU materials] is ready for approval. The new treaty, which will replace the failed EU constitution [JURIST news archive], will be the topic of discussion at a meeting in Luxembourg on October 15, and could potentially gain full EU approval at a summit in Lisbon later in the month. Portugal, which took over the EU Presidency [official website] on July 1, is hoping to have member states sign the treaty at a December summit and complete the ratification process before the June 2009 European parliamentary elections.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende [official profile] last month announced [JURIST report] that the Netherlands would not hold a general referendum on the proposed treaty because the pact had "no constitutional aspirations." British officials have adopted a similar position [JURIST report]. EU leaders reached initial agreement [JURIST report] on the reform treaty in June. The original draft constitution failed as it did not receive unanimous approval among all EU states. Voters in France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] rejected the proposal in national referenda in 2005. BBC News has more.