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Polish OK of EU reform treaty leaves it to Czechs

After Polish President Lech Kacznski signs the European Union's so-called Lisbon Treaty, pressure builds on Czech President Vaclav Klaus to follow suit and remove the last obstacle to implementation.

October 11, 2009|Associated Press

WARSAW — Poland's president approved the European Union reform treaty Saturday, ratcheting up the pressure on the Czech Republic as the only nation yet to sign off on the agreement designed to sharpen EU decision-making and increase the bloc's influence.

President Lech Kaczynski signed Poland's ratification of the so-called Lisbon Treaty at a ceremony attended by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and other EU leaders.

The deal seeks to strengthen the bloc's institutions after its rapid expansion eastward, and must be ratified by all 27 EU nations. Poland's final approval now puts the spotlight on Czech President Vaclav Klaus, whose signature is the last obstacle the deal faces.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU presidency, urged Klaus to ratify the treaty so it can come into force Jan. 1.

"Europe eagerly awaits this to happen," Reinfeldt said. "We do not need more delays."

Klaus' office did not immediately comment, but Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer said through his spokesman that he welcomed the Polish move and "believes that this document will be ratified in the Czech Republic in the foreseeable future."

EU leaders say new voting rules are needed to promote stronger policies in combating cross-border crime, terrorism and ecological threats.

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