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Germany parliament approves bill for ratifying EU reform treaty

[JURIST] The German Bundestag [official website, in German] approved a bill [text, PDF, in German] Tuesday that will allow Germany to ratify the EU reform treaty, known as the Lisbon Treaty [EU materials; text]. Although both houses of Germany's parliament had previously approved the treaty [JURIST report], the German Constitutional Court [official website] ruled [judgment; JURIST report] in June that the treaty could not be ratified without certain parliamentary reforms ensuring Germany's sovereignty. The Bundestag passed the bill [DW report], which was drafted [JURIST report] in August, by a vote of 494-46 with two abstentions. The bill must still be approved by the Bundesrat [official website], Germany's upper house of parliament, which will cast its vote September 18, and then signed into law by President Horst Koehler [official profile, in German].

Efforts to ratify [JURIST news archive] the treaty in all of the 27 member countries required for approval have met some obstacles. Although the treaty has been approved in 23 countries, Irish voters rejected [JURIST report] the treaty last June, leading Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website] to refuse to sign the measure, despite approval [JURIST report] by the Czech Senate [official website]. Last July, Polish President Lech Kaczynski [official website] refused to sign [JURIST report] the treaty despite parliamentary approval, calling it "pointless" in light of the Irish rejection. Ireland agreed in June to hold a second referendum [JURIST report] after EU leaders agreed to certain concessions [presidency conclusions, PDF].

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