Sunday

24th Mar 2019

Bulgarian parliament ratifies EU treaty

Bulgaria, one of the EU's most recent member states, on Friday (21 March) became the sixth country to ratify the EU's Lisbon treaty.

The document, which aims to revitalise the bloc's institutions and improve decision-making efficiency, was supported by all government coalition parties, as well as by most opposition parties.

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  • The EU's two newest members, Bulgaria and Romania, have both ratified the Lisbon treaty (Photo: European Commission)

Only the far right party, Ataka, voted against ratification with its nationalist leader Volen Siderov saying that the treaty would lead to the creation of a super state, which would cost Bulgaria its sovereignty.

The European Commission welcomed Sofia's ratification of the treaty.

"I appreciate the commitment given to early approval of the treaty by both the Bulgarian Government and Parliament," commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Romania and France have also ratified the document.

Belgium and Poland

The Belgian parliament on Wednesday (19 March) postponed ratification of the treaty until after the Easter holidays, but the formation of a new government late last week paved the way for this move to happen soon.

After a nine-month political deadlock, Flemish Christian democrat Yves Leterme replaced Guy Verhofstadt as the country's prime minister, at the head of a five-party coalition government.

Meanwhile, ratification in Poland remains uncertain.

The Polish opposition party lead by former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and supported by his twin brother and the country's President Lech Kaczynski, has threatened to block Poland's ratification of the document unless Warsaw gets more guarantees on sovereignty and that Polish constitution will remain the highest law in the country.

But during a visit to Ljubljana on Friday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk stressed that his country was still planning to ratify the Lisbon treaty before the end of the current Slovenian presidency of the EU in June, "and possibly before a May 3 holiday."

If the Polish parliament fails to approve the treaty because of the opposition, the document may still be ratified by a referendum, which should "not be a big problem" as ratification is supported by 70 percent of the Polish society, Mr Tusk was quoted as saying by Reuters.

So far, only Ireland is set to hold a referendum on the EU's new treaty, expected in June.

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