Lisbon treaty definitively ratified by Belgium
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The Flemish regional assembly ratified the EU Lisbon treaty, completing the Belgium process for this bill on European institutions. By completing the ratification, Belgium becomes the 22nd country to accept the treaty.
Belgium completed on Thursday the parliamentary ratification process of the EU's Lisbon Treaty after the Flemish regional assembly voted in favour of the text.
The controversial treaty, which seeks to streamline EU institutions as the bloc expands, now only needs to be signed by Belgian King Albert II for it to be fully ratified by Belgium.
Irish voters rejected the treaty, which must be ratified by all 27 EU member states to take effect, in a June referendum, plunging the European Union into a new institutional crisis.
Flemish parliament spokesman Dirk Nuyts said 78 lawmakers voted in favour, 22 against and three abstained, closing the parliamentary procedure in Belgium.
The Flemish parliament was the last of Belgium's seven assemblies that still needed to vote following approval by the two chambers of federal parliament and the four other regional or community assemblies.
"As a founding member of the Union, it was very important for Prime Minister Yves Leterme that Belgium could ratify the Lisbon Treaty," his spokesman Peter Poulussen told AFP, congratulating the seven parliaments.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also congratulated Belgium, thanking authorities "for their strong support for the treaty."
"We are privileged to have the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, which is rightly known as the capital of Europe, and I want to thank the Belgian Government for the continuing support for the European project," he said in a statement.
Today's vote brings the number of countries that have completed the parliamentary process on the Treaty of Lisbon to twenty two, Barroso said.
"This is a strong signal of how important it is that all member states are heard during the ratification process," he added.