20th Apr 2019

German lower house passes EU treaty law

  • Lisbon campaign posters in Ireland: the country will vote on the treaty on 2 October (Photo: Andrew Willis)

Germany's lower house on Tuesday (5 September) passed legislation allowing the final ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, pushing the focus once more back to Ireland and its referendum.

In a special sitting, 446 deputies in the Bundestag voted in favour of a package of laws that would give it more say over EU affairs, and 46 voted against.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Germany has been scrambling to ready the legislation since the country's constitutional court in June ruled that while the Lisbon Treaty was in line with the German charter, the proposed national laws accompanying its ratification did not give parliament enough oversight over EU decisions.

The tweaked proposals, comprising four laws in total, involve the parliament in any possible future changes to the Lisbon Treaty. One clause in the treaty allows for moving from an issue that needs unanimity for a decision to qualified majority voting if all member states agree.

A second law governs the changes that need to be made to the German constitution for ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, while the third says the government must in writing inform the parliament of its intentions on EU issues. The parliament is also allowed to take a position on the issue and while government is not obliged to follow the parliament's position in Brussels, it must then justify why it did not.

The parliament's approval will be needed for the opening of EU membership negotiations with a country as well as for beginning negotiations on changing an EU treaty.

A fourth law spells out how Germany's regions and the government should co-operate on EU affairs.

The upper house, or Bundesrat, still has to approve the laws in a vote on 18 September before the final step of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty - signature by German President Horst Koehler - can be taken.

The whole process is expected to be wrapped up before the country's general election on 27 September.

The German parliament's vote will mean that renewed focus is expected on Ireland, which is facing a referendum on the treaty on 2 October.

Falling support for the document - although 46 percent plan to say "yes" and 29 percent "no" according to the most recent poll - as well as a government distracted by the economic crisis has led to concern in Brussels about the outcome.

Poland and the Czech Republic have also yet to complete ratification, with their presidents waiting for the outcome of the Irish vote before putting pen to paper.

German house in landmark vote on Iceland EU membership

The Bundestag on Thursday is set to hold a landmark vote on European affairs, with the first binding EU recommendation for its government to follow in respect to Iceland's membership bid to join the bloc.


All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us