July 10, 2008 / 8:45 PM / 11 years ago

Belgium completes approval of EU Lisbon treaty

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium on Thursday completed its approval of the European Union’s Lisbon reform treaty as the parliament of the country’s Flemish region cleared the document, rejected by Irish voters last month.

The Belgian assembly’s vote brings the number of countries that have completed the parliamentary process on the treaty to 22, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

“This is a strong signal of how important it is that all member states are heard during the ratification process,” Barroso said.

Irish voters plunged the 27-nation EU into a new crisis of confidence when they rejected the treaty, intended to adapt the bloc’s institutions for further enlargement, in a referendum.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country this month assumed the EU presidency, said earlier on Thursday that he would propose a way forward by year’s end to salvage the treaty after consulting Irish leaders on their country’s “No” vote.

Reporting by Dale Hudson

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