by MONITOR
WHILE the British Parliament slogs its way through the legislation for ratification of the Lisbon Treaty (aka Reform Treaty, aka EU Constitution), the European Parliament this week discussed a report on the Treaty and approved it by 525 votes in favour to 115 against, with 29 abstentions. The report, prepared by the Spanish centre-right MEP Mendez de Vigo, said that the Treaty would make the EU more democratic, give EU citizens more rights and improve the day-to-day working of the 27-member bloc. British and Danish eurosceptics were among those opposing the report on the grounds that the Treaty is essentially a rewriting of the Constitution rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005, but Sr Mendez de Vigo argued that the result of the parliamentary vote showed that the EU had “found a solution” following a period of reflection on the Dutch and French rejection. Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is now in progress, or completed, in 26 of the 27 member states. The odd country out is Ireland whose constitution requires a referendum for new legislation such as that contained in the Treaty. The referendum will probably be held in May or June and, since the Treaty depends on unanimous ratification by all member states, everyone will be holding their breath until then. It would be illogical if the Irish were to reject the Treaty since their country, like Spain, has been a major beneficiary of EU membership.