Latvia, Lithuania ratify Lisbon treaty


The parliaments of the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania today approved the European Union's new reform treaty.

The treaty, which must win approval by all 27 EU countries to take effect, will give the bloc a long-term president, a more powerful foreign policy chief, more democratic decision-making and more say for European and national parliaments.

Latvia's parliament approved the treaty in a second and final reading by 70 votes in favour, three against and one abstention in the 100-seat house.

In Lithuania, deputies voted 83-23 in the 141-seat parliament to ratify the treaty, which replaces a more ambitious European constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in referendums several years ago.

Ireland is the only EU state holding a referendum on the treaty. A No vote on June 12th could sink the whole project.