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BBC NEWS | Europe | EU leaders sign landmark treaty
EU leaders have signed a treaty in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, that is expected to greatly alter the way the 27-nation body operates.

The treaty creates an EU president and a more powerful foreign policy chief.

The document, signed at a ceremony at the city's historic Jeronimos Monastery, also scraps veto powers in many policy areas.

It is a replacement for the EU constitution, which was abandoned following French and Dutch opposition.

EU leaders insist that the two texts are in no way equivalent.

But the Lisbon treaty incorporates some of the draft constitution's key reforms, and several governments face domestic pressure over the document.

In a speech before the signing, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on European leaders to use the treaty to make freedom, prosperity and solidarity an everyday reality for all European citizens.

"From this old continent, a new Europe is born," he said.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said the treaty would create a more modern, efficient and democratic union.

"The world needs a stronger Europe," he said.

The leaders signed the treaty, translated into the EU's 23 official languages, using specially engraved silver fountain pens as a choir sang Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

Mr Brown signed the treaty hours after fellow EU leaders. Foreign Secretary David Miliband attended the signing ceremony.

The UK's opposition Conservatives accused Mr Brown of "not having the guts" to sign the treaty, which is politically controversial in Britain, in public.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:33:33 AM EST
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FT.com / World - Brown's late signing of EU treaty attacked

Gordon Brown arrived in Lisbon more than three hours after his fellow leaders to sign the European reform treaty on Thursday amid growing claims the UK premier is becoming detached from the rest of the European Union.

Liberal reformers in Europe saw Mr Brown's solitary signing of the treaty as a symptom of his retreat to the margins in the EU and even Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, implored in English: "We need Gordon."

Some British diplomats are close to despair at what they see as the prime minister's disregard for the 27-member club and warn that the UK-inspired liberalisation drive in Europe could stall unless the prime minister returns to the fray.

By the time Mr Brown arrived in Lisbon more than half the other European leaders had already left and his decision to miss a lavish official signing ceremony of the revamped EU constitution drew official and media criticism from across the bloc.

José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, is among those who want a strong British voice in Brussels, partly to balance French calls for more protectionism. Debates on energy liberalisation, climate change, temporary workers' rights and farm reform loom next year.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:35:47 AM EST
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If both Barroso and Sarkozy want Gordon's involvement, I can't but help to root that the G man will stay as, or become more, indifferent to the EU, especially with subjects as energy liberalisation, workers' rights and farm reform...
by Nomad on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 03:01:29 AM EST
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Some British diplomats are close to despair at what they see as the prime minister's disregard for the 27-member club and warn that the UK-inspired liberalisation drive in Europe could stall unless the prime minister returns to the fray.

Maybe Gordon is really against liberalisation? lol

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 03:57:05 AM EST
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Brown seems to be shrivelling in the glare of Premiership. His natural instinct has always been to slink away at the first sign of trouble and allow others to catch the crap. As PM we can still see him trying to do it, but the point of a leader is visibility and when he tries to hide now he's getting caught out which makes him look increasingly shifty and uncomfortable.

I wonder if Gordon may tire of this soon. Call an election and then bail.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 06:36:20 AM EST
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The biggest problem with Brown is that he obviously lacks any vision whatsoever. He got the big job he yearned for and he doesn't know what to do with it.

It would be unforgivable to call an election that will yield a Tory majority. We need a hung parliament.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 06:46:50 AM EST
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Is a hung parliament becoming more likely?  I think Brighton has a not-so-outside chance of voting the UK's first Green MP, that'd be one from Labour.  Gary J knows a lot about this, and I'd expect the Lib Dems to be working out their possibilities....just wondering.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:17:57 AM EST
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Straight green that may be true, but  in the early 90's Ceredigion had a combined Plaid/Green MP

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 09:20:54 AM EST
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Can anyone point me to a list of current marginals?  'Twould be interesting to see which other areas are due for a change

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:04:50 AM EST
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Here gives it in nice diagramatic form, but no figures.

the official report is here with figures, but is in PDF format

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:14:04 AM EST
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As long as the Tories have over 40% of voter intent you can forget about a hung parliament.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:32:17 AM EST
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off-topic: it was surprise to me to find you had been discussing 2 days ago me and my ethnicity with lana.

Barring her usual insults she mentioned izvestia article calling it shocking. actually nothing shocking in it except subheadline - "Ethnic Russians have been living under local nationalism". But in article itself there are no facts confirming ethnic discrimination even President of this republic is ethnic Russian. Then journalist used highly questionable sources like Mr Yurkov who is known as scandal-prone figure and delighted to have any publicity saying anything to anybody what is needed. By the way there was lively discussion in forum under this article where overwhelming majority dubbed this article which lana seemed to believe and other articles in Izvestia (and many other Moscow-based media) as biased and unjustified.

But what lana has to explain is the reasons behind the rise of ugly racism and nationalism in Moscow and St Petersburg - just last month yet one more young man from Yakutsk was murdered in Moscow by Russian fascists (the text in Russian):
http://diaspora.sakhaopenworld.org/announ18.shtml
The murder caused widespread outrage and even demonstrations were held.

Obviously lana has no case and her posts do not deserve even troll marks.

by FarEasterner on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:42:19 AM EST
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This is the UK. We don't really do vision.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:52:58 AM EST
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Say what you want about Blair but at least he gave the impression of having one.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:34:01 AM EST
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Giving the impression of having one is as good as it gets.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:06:32 PM EST
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The treaty is clever idea after failed referendums but can we expect stronger or more united EU since its member states have different priorities? I think it's unlikely before regime change in Washington and even after.
by FarEasterner on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:16:21 AM EST
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IMHO until the generation that had its formative years in the 1980's attains power EU member states won't shed their cold-war reflexes (including suspicion of Russia and love of all things US). Give it 15 more years, at least.

Unfortunately I don't think we have the luxury of waiting 15 years - things look set to unravel before that.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:37:39 AM EST
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Well, I certainly am cured from love of anything US, but the gentle Mr Putin gives some reasons not to treat everything from Russia at face value...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:53:59 AM EST
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