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Europe

Top court approves Lisbon Treaty but suspends ratification

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-30

Germany's highest court has ruled in favour of the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty but suspended its ratification, calling for changes to domestic legislation to ensure "sufficient legal groundwork for parliamentary participation."

AFP - Germany's top court said Tuesday additional national legislation was needed before the EU's Lisbon Treaty could be ratified, further delaying its adoption across the 27-member bloc.
   
"The ratification document of the Federal Republic of Germany may not be adopted until the sufficient legal groundwork for parliamentary participation as foreseen in the constitution has been laid," the Federal Constitutional Court said.
   
"If one wanted to summarise this result, one could say: the constitution says 'yes' to the Lisbon Treaty but demands that parliament's right to participation be strengthened at the national level," the court said.
   
"The court is confident that the last barrier for adopting the ratification document will be cleared."
   
The treaty -- which aims to streamline decision-making in the EU and give the bloc a stronger voice on the world stage -- must be ratified by all 27 member states before it can come into force.
   
Although the treaty was approved by a large majority in both houses of the German parliament, the country's president Horst Koehler has held off on the final ratification step pending the judgement.
   
So far, 23 out of the 27 countries in the EU have ratified the document.
   
In a shock result that plunged the EU into an institutional crisis last June, Ireland voted 53-47 against the reforms in a referendum -- the only country to put the document to a popular vote.
   
Irish voters are poised to vote again -- probably in October -- after receiving guarantees the treaty would not affect issues close to Irish voters, such as military neutrality and abortion.
   
Following the surprise vote against the reforms, opinion has swung in favour of the Lisbon Treaty as the global financial crisis has hit the former "Celtic Tiger" economy harder than most.
   
The eurosceptic Czech and Polish presidents have said they will not sign the Treaty until Ireland has voted again.
   
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Date created : 2009-06-30

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