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French parliament says "oui" to EU reform treaty

brussels bureau

French parliament says "oui" to EU reform treaty


France’s parliament has approved the European Union’s Lisbon reform treaty. The National Assembly and later the upper house, the Senate, overwhelmingly backed the text. It comes three years after French voters said “non” to a planned EU constitution.

With comfortable majorities in both chambers for his conservative UMP party, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been an advocate of the treaty.

He signed it with other EU leaders in December. It will give the bloc a long-term president, a more powerful foreign policy chief and more democratic decision-making. But it must win approval by all 27 EU countries to take effect.

It was rejection by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005 that torpedoed the planned European Union constitution. It has been replaced by the new treaty.

Many opposition Socialists in France’s parliament voted for the charter, even though some of the party’s most prominent members campaigned against the constitution.

Only the Republic of Ireland will definitely hold a referendum on the treaty.

Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovenia have already ratified it.

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