The European Union on Thursday welcomed the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the parliament of Luxembourg.
"In common with all other ratifications by member states so far, ratification by the Luxembourg parliament is an important step forward on the path towards the ultimate goal -- the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on Jan. 1, 2009," a statement from the Slovenian EU Presidency said.
The Lisbon Treaty, signed by EU heads of state and government in December, will make the bloc's much needed institutional reforms possible.
"On the one hand, the Lisbon Treaty reforms the functioning of the institutions and strengthens democracy, while on the other hand the treaty primarily enables more efficient joint action," the statement said, adding that "the treaty will also enable the European Union to face challenges relating to globalization and the environment."
"The member states will therefore be able to take efficient decisions necessary in this field in order to face the challenges of the 21st century."
The statement reiterated that citizens are certain to benefit greatly from implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, noting that "instruments such as the civil initiative will be central to the future functioning of the European Union."
The Presidency voiced its belief that "the democratically elected European Parliament will strengthen its role and become an equal partner in legislative decision making in all areas of EU activity."
The treaty must be ratified by all 27 member states of the EU before it can take effect.
With the approval of Luxembourg, the treaty has now been ratified by 15 EU member states.
Monitoring the ratification of the treaty is one of Slovenia's priorities as the rotating EU Presidency in the first half of 2008.