Germany president ratifies EU reform treaty

Germany president ratifies EU reform treaty

[JURIST] German President Horst Koehler [official website, in German] on Friday signed the EU reform treaty, known as the Lisbon Treaty [EU materials; text], completing the country's problematic ratification process. The signature was the final step for ratification, after the Bundesrat [official website] gave final approval [JURIST report] earlier this week to a bill [text, PDF, in German] setting out the process for ratification. Although both houses of Germany's parliament had previously approved the treaty [JURIST report], the German Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [judgment; JURIST report] in June that the treaty could not be ratified without certain parliamentary reforms ensuring Germany's sovereignty. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso thanked [DPA report] Germany for ratifying the treaty, calling it an "important step towards more capacity to act, democratic accountability and influence at global level."

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 year, leading Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website] to refuse to sign the measure, despite approval [JURIST report] by the Czech Senate [official website]. In July 2008, Polish President Lech Kaczynski [official website] also 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]. The referendum is scheduled for next week.