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Hungary becomes first country to ratify Lisbon Treaty

The Hungarian parliament on Monday gave an overwhelming approval to the revised EU constitution - the Lisbon Treaty, and became the first country to do so in the 27-nation European Union. EC on Tuesday welcomed Hungary’s ratification.

Three hundred and twenty-five lawmakers cast a „yes” vote, five voted against the treaty and 14 abstained from voting. Speaking at the parliament, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány called the event a „historic achievement.” He said the adoption of the new treaty by EU leaders last week capped a 10-year-long debate over a new charter for EU. According to its schedule, the deal has to be approved by all EU member states before June 2009.

The Lisbon Treaty provides for an institutional overhaul after the draft EU Constitution was rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Decision makers signed the Lisbon Treaty at a year-end summit in the Portuguese capital on Dec. 13, hoping the „watered-down” version of the failed old EU Constitution would significantly improve the organization’s decision-making scheme. In comparison with its „mother” version, the new deal created the post of a long-term president for the European Council and in the same time, downsized the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.

So far, Ireland is the only country expected to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but pressure in the UK is mounting, with the Conservative opposition calling for a public vote.

 
The European Commission on Tuesday welcomed Hungary’s ratification of the new EU treaty urging the other 26 EU nations to soon follow suit. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday’s vote in the Hungarian parliament was one for „a more effective, democratic, transparent and stronger European Union.” (people.com.cn, euraktiv.com, iht.com)