19th Sep 2019

UK ratifies Lisbon Treaty ahead of EU summit

The British parliament has ratified the Lisbon Treaty amid unruly protests, with the country's queen set to approve the document on Thursday (19 June) morning, in time for it to become UK law before the EU summit opens in Brussels.

The British upper chamber, the House of Lords, on Wednesday evening voted down by 277 votes to 184 a Conservative Party proposal to delay ratification until October in view of the Irish No referendum last week.

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With the queen set to approve the so-called EU Amendment Bill by pronouncing the Norman French formula "La Reine le veult" over the document today, the treaty will become British law around 10:00 local time, ahead of the EU meeting this afternoon.

"Another endorsement of the treaty proves that it is still a living document," European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said. "The treaty of Lisbon has now been approved by 19 member states."

The Lords' vote saw four protesters forcefully ejected from the public gallery after shouting slogans such as "It's a democracy" and "The Irish voted No." A recent YouGov poll showed just 14 percent support for ratification in the UK.

Conservative eurosceptic peers and MPs also laid into the treaty during the day's debates in the lower and upper houses.

"This is not a treaty that Britain wanted or needed," Conservative Party leader David Cameron said, the BBC reports. "It's a treaty you were so ashamed of you had to sign it in a room all on your own," he added, in reference to prime minister Gordon Brown's notorious late arrival at the treaty signing ceremony in Lisbon last year.

"Just as we have respect for the Irish, we should have respect for the other countries that are processing the treaty and ratifying the treaty as well," Mr Brown said.

British foreign minister David Miliband warned the UK would be in "limbo" in Europe if ratification stopped.

Two legal challenges remain to the treaty, with Conservative MP Bill Cash calling on the High Court to rule whether the treaty is "incapable of ratification," and millionaire Stuart Wheeler awaiting a High Court decision on whether Britain should have called a referendum.

Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs

European People's Party group leader Manfred Weber defended Ursula von der Leyen's decision to rename a commission portfolio, partly dealing with migration, "protecting the European way of life". He said it means rescuing people in the Mediterranean.

Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Hungary was quizzed by EU ministers over its domestic crackdown on media, judges, academia and NGOs. Hungary's minister responded by saying the country had defended "the European way of life" for centuries, and it should be respected.

EU divided on how to protect rule of law

Poland and Hungary have argued that rule of law is purely a domestic matter and the EU should respect legal traditions, but Dutch foreign minister warned backsliding was a worry for all.

Catalonia celebrates national day ahead of trial verdicts

Catalonia celebrated on Wednesday its national day - while awaiting the trial verdict on 12 Catalan separatists, former politicians of Carles Puigdemont's government. That decision is expected for early October.

Those tricky commissioner candidates in full

Three central European commission nominees can expect to feel the heat from MEPs later this month, with the Hungarian candidate emerging as the most controversial.

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