(CN) – Czech President Vaclav Klaus today became the last European Union leader to approve the Lisbon Treaty, an agreement aimed at strengthening and consolidating the union. The treaty has now been ratified by all 27 member states.
The Lisbon Treaty would give Europe its first full-time president and foreign policy chief, would reduce the size of the European Commission and would require fewer unanimous European Council decisions, among other things.
Ireland initially rejected the treaty amid concerns that the EU would strip smaller member states of their liberty rights. But public opinion shifted after the global economic crisis, and Irish voters approved the treaty on Oct. 9.
President Klaus, the last hold-out, signed off on the condition that the Czech Republic could opt out of the treaty’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which he feared would trigger a deluge of property claims from Germans who’d been ousted from the country after World War II.