[JURIST] The parliaments of Latvia and Lithuania Thursday adopted the new EU reform treaty [JURIST news archive], properly known as the Treaty of Lisbon [PDF text; official website], bringing the total number of ratifying nations to 13. All 27 EU countries must approve the Treaty before it takes effect; most ratifications are expected to be parliamentary, although Ireland plans to hold a referendum. BBC News has more.
Designed to replace the failed EU constitution [JURIST news archive], which fell far short of unanimous approval among all EU states, the Lisbon Treaty [BBC Q/A] incorporates some elements of the earlier charter. It changes several aspects of the current European governance system in an effort to improve effectiveness and decrease response time on critical issues. Two new posts will be created for a European Council President and a foreign affairs representative. The European Court of Justice will receive broadened powers.