This story is another one of those which draws the remark that indeed, the labour pains are getting closer together.
[i]'The president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has signed the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the final step in the charter's ratification.
The treaty was drawn up to streamline decision-making in the EU, and is a watered-down version of a draft EU constitution rejected four years ago.
Among its measures, it creates a European Council president and alters the way member states vote.
The treaty could now come into force as early as December...'[/i]
Apparently, Mr Klaus has now exhausted every possible avenue within the Czech Republic's legal system, to delay having to agree to sign this treaty. He would have liked other countries, whose populations are also against it, to 'do more' to reject it. But some of us - like in the UK - elected a government which [i]promised[/i] a Referendum, which government - elected by only a third of our population - later reneged on that election promise.
Read more of the BBC report, here: [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8340664.stm]EU reform treaty passes last test [/url]
The ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon paves the way for an EU President (for which Tony Blair is already in the running), and an EU Foreign Minister, and many other controls over the movement(s) of people, and the legal systems in every country of the EU.
Although each country believes their own national government has retained enough sovreignty to reject certain EU directives, the fact is that any national government who has signed up, would have to put legistlation through its own national law-making system and gain popular support before it could legally opt out of certain controls, or, could opt out of anything as major as the Human Rights Act, to return to it the 'last say'.
Certain countries have a simple way of keeping their sovreignty within Europe; they simply ignore any EU legislation they don't like, and wait for the law-enforcers to catch up with them through Europe's own legal system. This has worked in the past, but the Lisbon Treaty closes loopholes. The Foreign Ministry's part, which is based in Rome, has had to be signed up to separately, by every country in the EU.
Please don't read the above as technically definitive! National governments do have a great deal of power. But, it is difficult to know what that will [i]mean[/i], after the President and Foreign Ministers and all the other positions have been filled.