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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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