Lower house votes to ratify Lisbon treaty

The lower house of the Czech Parliament has voted to ratify the European Union’s Lisbon treaty. One hundred and twenty-five of the 197 MPs present gave their backing to the document, which reforms how the EU is run. Thirty-six Eurosceptic deputies from the ruling Civic Democrats voted against Lisbon, as did the vast majority of the opposition Communist Party. The Czech Republic was the last of the EU’s 27 members to vote on the treaty. However, Wednesday morning’s vote is not the end of the matter. The Senate, where there is a significant bloc of Eurosceptic Civic Democrats, is expected to vote on the treaty in April. If approved by the upper house, Lisbon ratification must then be signed by President Václav Klaus. Mr Klaus, a firm opponent of further European integration, has indicated he will not sign the document unless it is approved by Ireland; Irish voters rejected Lisbon in a referendum last June and are due to vote on it again this year.