Dutch assembly approves EU treaty

Netherlands becomes 21st EU member to approve Lisbon treaty.

    All 27 member states must ratify the treaty before it comes into effect [AFP]

    The Dutch cabinet had decided in September not to submit the new document to the country for a referendum.

    Maxime Verhagen, the country's foreign minister, said: "With the Lisbon treaty, the position of national parliaments in Europe are strengthened, while the powers of the EU and its member states are more clearly staked out."

    Frans Timmermans, the Europe minister, said the new treaty was "essential to
    make the European union function more decisively and democratically".

    Ireland, the sole European country which decided to hold a public referendum on the issue, rejected the treaty on June 12 with 53.4 per cent of the vote, presenting the EU with a constitutional crisis.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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