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Parliament to fast-track reform for Lisbon Treaty

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Parliament to fast-track reform for Lisbon Treaty
Photo: DPA
16:42 CEST+02:00
After the constitutional court's ruling that reforms in parliamentary law will be necessary to green-light the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the German parliament agreed on Wednesday to speed up the process in time for Ireland's referendum on October 4.

The German constitutional court in Karlsruhe gave its blessing to the Lisbon Treaty on Tuesday on the condition that reforms be introduced to strengthen both houses of the German parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, before ratification. Special sessions are now planned for August 26 and September 8.

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.

The Bundestag was united behind the decision on Wednesday. Social Democrat representative Axel Schäfer admitted to reporters that the parliament “had not used its chances” in creating the initial concomitant law, while Michael Stübgen of the centre-right Christian Democrats pointed out that the central points of those opposed to the Treaty had been refuted by the constitutional court.

Schäfer said the parliament's task now was to “send out an important signal” ahead of the Irish referendum.

“The Lisbon Treaty will not fail because of Germany,” promised Markus Löning of the Free Liberal FDP party.

Meanwhile the Left, Germany's hard-line socialist party, which had opposed the treaty, claimed their main concerns had been confirmed by the constitutional court.

The judges had “re-interpreted” the Treaty, said Gregor Gysi, head of the party's parliamentary faction.

“The court has brought Europe into the Bundestag,” he said.

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