France assumes EU presidency

Sarkozy points to errors in the way Europe has been built and calls for change.

    On Monday evening, the Eiffel Tower was
    lit with EU's blue and gold stars [AFP]

     

    'No' vote

    EU reform plans have been put in jeopardy after Irish voters rejected the treaty in the vote on June 12.

    The treaty needs to be ratified by all 27 EU member states before being enforced.

    Sarkozy said EU countries must continue ratifying the key charter.

    Sarkozy is due to travel to Ireland on July 11, a day after he addresses the EU parliament in Strasburg.

    France has defined four priorities for its EU presidency - immigration, defence, energy and the environment, and agriculture.

    On Tuesday, Sarkozy and Francois Fillon, the French prime minister, will meet
    Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission.

    A ceremony is to be held at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris later on Tuesday.

    On Monday evening, the Eiffel Tower was lit with blue and gold stars, symbolising the EU colours.

    Polish rejection

    Meanwhile, Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president, has said he will not sign the Lisbon Treaty because it is pointless after Irish voters rejected it.

    "For the moment, the question of the treaty is pointless," Kaczynski said in an interview published on Tuesday.

    In April the Polish parliament voted to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, but it needs the signature of the president to become definitive.

    "It is difficult to say how all this will end. But on the other hand, to say that without the treaty there won't be a Union is not serious," Kaczynski said.

    Kaczynski warned EU leaders against trying to isolate or pressure Ireland.

    "If one breaks the rule of unanimity one time, it will never exist again. We're not strong enough for this type of solution," he said.

    Last month EU leaders said the ratification process would continue, but they agreed to an Irish request to delay trying to find a way to overcome its "no" vote until the next summit in October.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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