Sweden nears ratification of EU treaty

The Swedish government said on Thursday it had approved the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, leading the country a step closer to ratification.

“It is good that the ratification process can now continue so that we, by the end of the year, can get an overview of the overall situation in Europe,” EU Minister Cecilia Malmström said in a statement.

The largely procedural government approval was needed before the Swedish parliament can vote on the charter.

A parliamentary vote is expected some time in the autumn.

“We are convinced that the Lisbon Treaty is the best thing for the EU and that it will bring about increased transparency, democracy and efficiency,” Malmström said.

The Swedish government decision came as Cyprus became the 20th of the EU’s 27 members where parliaments have voted in favour of ratifying the treaty.

Every member state must ratify the treaty if it is to come into force, however it was rejected by Irish voters in a June 12th referendum.

Since then, Polish President Lech Kaczynski has refused to sign it until Irish voters have approved it in any new referendum.