LISBON, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- European Parliament (EP) President Hans-Gert Poettering on Thursday asked the European leaders to put their "maximum political determination" on the prompt ratification of the Lisbon Treaty signed earlier in the day.
He said the signing of the treaty is "a wonderful present for the European Union (EU)," adding that he hoped it would be ratified and enforced on Jan. 1, 2009.
"While signing the Lisbon Treaty, the heads of state and government, 50 years after the signing of the Rome Treaty, seek to help the European Union advance in a common road," Poettering said.
The EU member countries seek to begin the treaty's ratification in January, 2008 and expect its ratification by Dec. 31 next year.
Of the 27 EU countries, only Ireland is obliged by its constitution to carry out a referendum.
Poettering thanked Portuguese Prime Minister and EU President Jose Socrates for the success of the conference.
He also highlighted the importance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to obtain a fundamental accord on the treaty in the June summit in Brussels.
"In early 2007, there was talk about a crisis that cannot be ignored by the European Union" and now the bloc "emerges stronger from that crisis," Poettering said.
EU leaders sign Lisbon Treaty to reform bloc
Heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) take photos after signing the Lisbon Treaty in Lisbon, Portugal, Dec. 13, 2007. Heads of state and government of the EU member states on Thursday signed the Lisbon Treaty, which they hope can make decision-making more efficient. (Xinhua Photo)
LISBON, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) member states on Thursday signed the Lisbon Treaty, which they hope can make decision-making more efficient.
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was the first leader to put his name on the treaty. Full story
EU leaders arrive for signing of Lisbon Treaty
LISBON, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) member states arrived on Thursday in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon for the signing of a treaty named after the city.
The signing ceremony will be held at the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery, a 16th century structure that was named a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Full story
Interview: All eyes on Ireland for fate of Lisbon Treaty
BRUSSELS, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- All eyes are on Ireland for the fate of the Lisbon Treaty as it is the only country that will hold a referendum on the text, said an expert with a think tank on European Union (EU) policies.
The Lisbon Treaty, which is to be signed by EU heads of state and government in Lisbon on Thursday, must be ratified by all 27 EU member states before it enters into force. Full story