The EU ratifies Kyoto (Photo: Spanish Presidency)


Ratification is the official confirmation of an already agreed text. The Lisbon Treaty has ratifications in Art. 48.4 TEU and adoption of treaty amendments without ratification in Art. 48.7 TEU.

All 28 member states have to ratify before a new treaty is adopted. The Lisbon Treaty was signed 3 November 2009 by the Czech President as the last after a final Czech Constitutional Court decision the same day and entered into force 1 December 2009.

12 June 2008 53 % of Irish voters said No to the Lisbon Treaty. 20 June 2008 the European Council decided that the ratification process should continue in other member states. The Czech government reserved its position.

In December 2009 the European summit in Brussels decided  that Ireland should come back with a ratification in 2009 to allow the Treaty to take effect from 1 January 2010.

The Irish government arranged the second referendum 2 October 2009.

According to Art. 30 in the Geneva Convention on Treaties member states are not obliged to continue ratification of a treaty when it is rejected in a country.

Treaties have to be ratified by the member states in accordance with the contents of their respective constitutions.

Even if a treaty has been signed on behalf of a state or a number of states, it is not legally binding until all the states that have signed declare formally that they have ratified it. Treaties are ratified either by a majority vote of the national parliament or by referenda.



100 members of the Convention on the future of Europe proposed that the adoption of the proposal for an EU Constitution should be followed by referenda in each member state before it can be ratified.

If, after 2 years, a few member states still had not ratified it, the European Council had to deal with the issue (Art. IV-443.4 in the rejected EU Constitution). The same wording was attached to the EU Constitution as political Declaration no 30.

29 May 2005 the French voters voted "non" to the proposed constitution followed by 62 % of the Dutch voters voting "nee" 1 June 2005. Luxembourg had planned their referendum and had the EU constitution accepted by a majority of voters in Luxembourg.

The ratification process stopped in practise with a decicion to establish a pause for debate and dialogue. Then, 16 member states representing 37 % of the European voters had ratified. Germany and Slovakia had accepted the content by decisions from their parliaments but could not ratify because of pending court cases.

After a reflection period the Prime Ministers decided to establish the major content from the constitution in the Lisbon Treaty and avoid referendums - outside the unavoidable in Ireland.

See also Lisbon Treaty


See also ReferendumEU Constitution and Instruments of Ratification.