The Polish president has ratified the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, leaving the Czech Republic as the only one of the bloc’s 27 members left to do so.
Lech Kaczynski put pen to paper at a ceremony in Warsaw. The conservative eurosceptic had been reluctant to ratify the text but promised he would if Ireland gave its endorsement in last weekend’s referendum, which it did. Before signing, Kaczynski evoked one of the reasons for his resistance to the treaty, which is meant to streamline decision-making by the EU as well as provide it with a president and stronger foreign policy figure. He said: “The EU remains a union of nation states: it is a close union but it is a union of sovereign states, and let it remain so.” He added that the Union needs to admit new members and Commission President José Manuel Barroso later indicated enlargement would follow. “The agreement on the Lisbon Treaty will mark the end of what might be called the first phase of enlargement,” he said. The treaty will come into force if and when the Czech president ratifies it. But Vaclav Klaus is demanding that his country is given an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Top Czech and European officials still say they are confident of getting the last crucial signature from Prague by the end of the year.