Polish Leader Ratifies EU Treaty

World | October 10, 2009, Saturday // 12:49| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Polish Leader Ratifies EU Treaty Polish President Lech Kaczynski (front) holds up the Treaty of Lisbon ratification document following the signing ceremony at Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, 10 October 2009. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Polish President Lech Kaczynski has signed the European Union's much-delayed Lisbon Treaty.

His signature means the treaty, which is intended to streamline decision-making, remains un-ratified by only one country, the Czech Republic.

It must be ratified by all 27 member states before it can come into force.

In a speech just before the signing Kaczynski said he was "deeply convinced" that the "great experiment" of the treaty would be successful.

"The fact that the Irish people changed their minds meant the revival of the treaty, and there are no longer any obstacles to its ratification," he said.

"Today is a very important day in the history of Poland and the European Union."

But he said that the EU was a "union of sovereign states" and should remain so, adding that it remain open to new members such as countries of the former Yugoslavia and Georgia.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Parliament speaker Jerzy Buzek and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, attended the Polish ceremony.

The treaty's prospects of coming into force received a major lift last week when Irish voters approved it in a second referendum.

But the Czech President Vaclav Klaus then raised fresh doubts when he said he would not sign the treaty unless his country was granted an opt-out from the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Klaus raised fears about possible property claims by Germans expelled from the then Czechoslovakia after World War II.

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