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One obstacle less for the Lisbon Treaty

2009/08/19

Last night, political parties in Germany struck a deal on the legislative changes that were required by the Constitutional court in its June ruling.

The Court has put increased influence of the Bundestag (the German parliament), and also to some extent the Bundesrat (representing the Länder), over the German government’s positions in certain EU Council decisions as a condition for the Lisbon Treaty to be ratified. More exactly, the Court ruled that both houses are to give a formal approval before decisions are taken that would affect the contents of the Treaty through the ”passerelles”, or if the Council decides to replace unanimity with majority voting in a specific area.

Next to introducing the Court’s ruling into German legislation, the parties agreed on greater involvement of both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat also in other fields of German EU policy, although their opinions will not be legally binding for the federal government.

The plan is to have this deal voted in both the Bundestag and the Bundestag by 18 September, well in time before the referendum in Ireland on 2 October.

With yesterday’s deal, yet another obstacle for a more open, effective and democratic Union has been removed. Now I keep my fingers crossed for an Irish yes in October, followed by ratification by Poland and the Czech Republic. Being a born optimist, I am confident that we will celebrate the new Treaty before the end of the year!

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