Slovenian parliament ratifies Lisbon Treaty

BELGRADE, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) — The Slovenian parliament ratified on Tuesday the Lisbon Treaty, enabling Slovenia to be the second EU country to ratify the document after Hungary, said reports reaching here from the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.     The document, which was endorsed in a 74-to-6 vote, is to ensure efficient operation of the enlarged European Union and strengthen its role in the world, the Slovenian news agency STA reported.

    The endorsement has already been welcomed by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who told the MPs earlier on Tuesday that all 27 EU countries needed to ratify the treaty in order for it to enter into force.

    Jansa said the treaty included the majority of the contents but not the form of its ill-fated precursor, the constitutional treaty, which was rejected at referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005.

    One of the basic points of the new document is increasing the role of deciding by a qualified majority on the back of consensus-based decision making.

    The treaty also omits a direct reference to constitutionality, which caused fear among the French and Dutch that the EU was changing into a super state. No article of the treaty also mentions EU symbols, such as its flag or national anthem.

    On the other hand, the Lisbon Treaty maintains the post of the EU foreign minister (renamed high representative for foreign affairs and security policy) and minor adjustments to the number of seats in the European Parliament (750 plus 1, with the speaker excluded from the quota of MPs).

    It also includes a reduced number of commissioners and the option to withdraw from the bloc. It gives the EU a unified legal identity that will allow the bloc to sign international treaties and contains provisions on strengthening the role of the European Parliament.

    In order for the treaty to enter into force it must be ratified by all member states. In most countries the decision is to be taken by parliaments, while Ireland, bound by its legislation, is to hold a referendum.

    Monitoring the ratification of the treaty is one of Slovenia’s priorities as the EU president during the first half of 2008.

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