French parliament backs EU treaty

  • France
  • 02/11/2008
  • BBC News

France’s parliament has voted to adopt the EU reform treaty, three years after a French No dealt a fatal blow to the European Constitution.

MPs approved the law by a margin of 336-52 and the upper house, the Senate, later also approved the vote.

Now it has passed, President Nicolas Sarkozy will ratify the treaty.

Hungary, Malta, Slovenia and Romania have already done so. Ireland is the only EU member state due to hold a referendum on the treaty.

All 27 member states must approve the treaty before it can come into force as scheduled in 2009.

‘Historic moment’

France’s opposition Socialists were split on the issue and an attempt by the party to force a referendum was voted down by the National Assembly on Wednesday night.

President Sarkozy had refused to have a public vote.

Mr Sarkozy’s spokesman David Martinon said of the parliamentary approval: “This is excellent news, a great victory for France which has gone from being the country holding up Europe to being the one that pulled Europe out of gridlock.”

Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet told parliament on Thursday that ratification was a “historic moment for France” and would send a “strong signal” to the rest of Europe before the six-month French presidency of the EU begins in July.

Before the vote could take place, the upper and lower houses of the French parliament met in Congress at Versailles on Monday to delete a reference in the French constitution to the ill-fated EU constitutional treaty.