Saturday

25th Jun 2022

France ratifies EU treaty

The French parliament has approved the new EU treaty, making France the first of the large member states to ratify the document and drawing a line under the shock 'No' vote of almost three years ago when French voters rejected the original EU constitution.

Both the national assembly (336 in favour and 52 against) on Thursday (7 February) and the senate (265 in favour, 42 against and 13 abstentions) on Friday voted strongly in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, a reworking of the rejected constitution containing most of its innovations.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The French Senate approved the treaty on Friday morning (Photo: Sénat)

Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet told parliament on Thursday that ratification was a "historic moment for France" while foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said "this treaty deserves to be appreciated for its value: as an important moment in the construction of the European ideal."

"This is excellent news, a great victory for France which has gone from being the country holding up Europe to being the one that pulled Europe out of gridlock," said government spokesman David Martinon.

The socialists and their allies who had criticised Mr Sarkozy for choosing the parliamentary rather than the referendum route, nonetheless largely voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.

Vincent Peillon, socialist MEP, was one of the politicians who advocated a 'no' to the old EU constitution.

He explained to La Croix daily on Thursday, ahead of the vote, that he was voting in favour of its replacement, the Lisbon Treaty, because "it is neither about the same text or the same context."

Mr Peillon points out that the third part of the EU constitution "that constitutionalised the liberal policies of the European Union and made free and undistorted competition an objective of the Union" no longer exists.

While admitting that the socialist position is "difficult" to understand, Mr Peillon said that "to say 'no' again would cut us off from our European allies and block Europe."

The French ratification, which has to be formally signed and sealed by president Nicolas Sarkozy, makes France the fifth country after Hungary, Slovenia, Malta and Romania to approve the treaty.

The treaty introduces a powerful foreign policy chief, a permanent president of the European Council and gives greater legislative powers to the European Parliament. It must be ratified by all 27 member states to come into force.

Ratification is expected to take place through the year. Germany plans to ratify in June while others such as Spain will follow suit later in the year. Only Ireland has pledged to have a referendum

Meanwhile, the ratification saga continues in Slovakia. Its treaty approval process has become tangled up in a separate dispute between government and opposition parties over a media bill, which the opposition say is too restrictive.

The government needs the opposition to secure approval of the treaty. An attempt to resolve the issue failed on Thursday, and Slovak media reports now suggest that the parliamentary vote on the treaty has been postponed indefinitely.

EU opens door to Ukraine in 'geopolitical' summit

EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.

EU parliament revokes Russian lobbyist badges

After months of stalled negotiations to remove Russian lobbyists from the EU's joint-transparency register, the European Parliament has decided to go solo and unilaterally bar them from its premises.

News in Brief

  1. Belgian PM: Gas shortage requires joint response
  2. Bulgarian MPs set conditions for lifting enlargement veto
  3. Latvia: We need a brigade-size Nato force to 'feel safe'
  4. Deal reached on controversial energy treaty reform
  5. EU carbon emissions from energy up 6% in 2021
  6. Germany step closer to gas rationing
  7. Albania: EU 'disgrace' at lack of enlargement progress
  8. 'Serious blow' to EU credibility over North Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us