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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-12-13

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The heads of governments and the Foreign Ministers of the 27 member states of the European Union have signed the Lisbon Treaty, aiming to speed up decision-making in the EU.

    The Treaty of Lisbon creates a new president of the European Council with a two and a half year term and a new EU foreign policy chief.

    In his speech at the signing ceremony, Prime Minister of Portugal and President of the European Council, Jose Socrates, said the idea that motivates us in this ceremony for the signature is quite simple: to advance the European project. A project that has always been generous in its purposes and ambitious in its objectives. A project that has proven to be at the service of peace, development and the affirmation of the values we share.

    Socrates stressed the need for a stronger Union. ``Stronger to respond to the longings of the European citizens, to promote the European economy and defend European values, he said, noting that a more ambitious Europe is also the most important contribution we can give to a better world.

    He expressed certainty that what we are doing here is already part of History. History will remember this day as a day when new paths of hope were opened to the European ideal.

    In his remarks, Socrates paid emphasis on Germanys Chancellor Angela Merkel, who during the time of German Presidency, she who reached a mandate without which it would not have been possible to follow through this path.

    He also thanked President of the European Commission Jose Durao Barroso as well as the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering and the Parliamentary Groups for all their support during the difficult negotiations that preceded the agreement.

    Referring to the challenges of the Treaty of Lisbon, Socrates pointed out that it meets a central challenge. The challenge of European citizenship

    He said the Treaty of Lisbon recognises the full legal value of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, adding here we reaffirm our compromise with the identity values of the European project. Democratic legality, respect for fundamental rights, communitarian freedoms, equal opportunities, solidarity, access to justice, respect for the pluralism and diversity of our societies. These were the values that inspired the founding fathers of the European project and that we proudly reaffirm here today.

    In his speech, Jose Barroso said for the first time, the countries that were once divided by a totalitarian curtain are now united in support of a common treaty that they had themselves negotiated.

    The Commission President noted it is the Treaty of an enlarged Europe from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea.

    ``The Treaty of Lisbon will reinforce the Union`s capacity to act and the ability to achieve those goals in an effective way,`` Barroso added.

    After a family photo, leaders attended a lunch hosted by the president of Portugal Anibal Cavaco Silva at Museu dos Coches. They then departed for Brussels to attend Fridays European Council,

    President Papadopoulos is accompanied by Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis as well as the Republics ambassador to Portugal Nearchos Palas and Cyprus Permanent Representative at the EU, Nicos Emiliou.

    Attention now is directed to the ratification process by national EU parliaments that leaders hope will avoid the 2005 ``No`` by French and Dutch voters to the proposed constitution. It is expected that the Treaty will come into effect in 2009.

    Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado warned in an interview on Thursday that failure to ratify the Treaty would create a new crisis in Europe. ``We would have a political crisis in Europe, a serious one, worse than the one we`ve already been through,`` Amado told the Spanish daily ABC.

    Cypriot President Papadopoulos expects the Treaty Ratification to become a top priority for the House of Representatives after the islands presidential elections in February 2008.

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