Obama welcomes 'strengthened' EU
(WASHINGTON) - US President Barack Obama Tuesday welcomed the completion of the European Union's reform of the Lisbon Treaty, saying it would boost ties between the two partners.
"I believe that a strengthened and renewed EU will be an even better transatlantic partner with the United States," Obama said after summit talks with EU leaders here.
Obama said he had congratulated EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday gave the long-awaited final seal of approval to the treaty, clearing the way for the bloc to find a new president.
The ardent euroskeptic became the last EU leader to sign the landmark document into law after the top Czech court ruled it was in line with the constitution. The document is now set to come into force on December 1.
The signature enables the EU to appoint a new European Commission -- its executive arm -- as well as fill the freshly-created posts of president and foreign affairs supremo.
Earlier, Barroso hailed the Czech approval of the EU treaty as the removal of its "last hurdle" and said he was "confident" the reform pact will be signed this month.
"The good news I have today is that the last hurdle before the completion of the Lisbon treaty I think was now removed," Barroso said.
"I hope that now all the obstacles are removed and you'll have this Lisbon treaty coming to force," he said shortly before attending the EU-US summit here.
The Lisbon Treaty is designed to smooth the workings of the EU, which has almost doubled in size to 27 nations since a swathe of ex-communist nations including the Czech Republic joined in 2004.