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October 11, 2009

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Polish president signs EU treaty

POLISH President Lech Kaczynski signed the European Union's reform treaty into law yesterday, leaving the Czech Republic as the only country still to ratify the document.

The Lisbon Treaty is designed to streamline decision-making and give the 27-nation bloc a long-term president and a stronger foreign policy chief. It can only take effect when all member states have approved it.

"Only (Czech) President Vaclav Klaus' signature is missing. Europe eagerly awaits this to happen, Europe needs no more delays," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who attended the signing ceremony in Poland's presidential palace.

Klaus set out his terms on Friday for signing the treaty, demanding an exemption to protect Prague from post-war property claims and safeguard the sovereignty of the judiciary.

Kaczynski, a eurosceptic conservative, signed the treaty at a televised ceremony attended by the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the leader of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek.

He stressed that the EU remained a union of sovereign nations and said it must remain open to new members.


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