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Germany

Germany Starts Ratification Of EU Treaty

Germany's parliament on Friday began the process of ratifying the European Union's new constitution and is expected to put its seal on the treaty within four months. As the upper house or the Bundesrat2 started debate on the historic EU treaty, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called on the assembly to send a "positive signal" to Europe by finishing its work before the summer recess. The treaty, which is aimed at streamlining the EU's institutions and decision-making processes with 25 member states, must be ratified in Germany by both houses of parliament with a two-thirds majority vote. According to German press reports, the government has arranged with France to conclude the process by June to give the treaty a psychological boost just as the French prepare to vote on it in a referendum. Germany is among roughly half of the EU's member states which have chosen to submit the text to parliament for ratification, rather than in a referendum.

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