Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 12:54 UK

Germany ratifies EU reform treaty

Germany's Bundesrat - file picture
Germany's Bundesrat represents the 16 state governments

Germany has completed ratification of the European Union's reform treaty.

The document easily won the necessary two-thirds majority in the upper house, which represents the country's 16 federal state governments.

The lower house overwhelmingly backed the pact, known as the Lisbon Treaty, last month.

The treaty must be ratified by all 27 member states to take effect. Only one country, Ireland, is holding a referendum on the issue, next month.

More than half of the 27 members have now passed the agreement into law.

The treaty is aimed at simplifying the EU's unwieldy decision-making processes and will establish a major new foreign policy role.

It replaces the more ambitious European constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific