WARSAW, Oct 10 – After holding out against the European Union’s Lisbon treaty for more than a year, Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski had to delay his signature for a few extra seconds Saturday when his pen ran out.
After Kaczynski sat down at an official ceremony to ink Poland’s ratification document with an elegant fountain pen, his initial attempt to sign was unsuccessful. He turned, smiling, to an aide to ask for a replacement.
The treaty aims to streamline the running of the EU, which has nearly doubled in size in the past five years as a swathe of ex-communist countries such as Poland have joined.
The text has to be approved by all 27 member states in order to come into force. The Czech Republic’s ultra-eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus is now the only leader still refusing to sign.
Polish lawmakers ratified it in April 2008, but Kaczynski, a more moderate eurosceptic than Klaus, refused to complete the process in the wake of Irish voters’ rejection of the text in a referendum that June.
Kaczynski repeatedly said that Poland did not want to block the treaty as such, but that he would wait until the Irish approved it, which they did on October 2 in a second referendum.