The upper house of the German parliament has approved the European Union treaty, making Germany the 14th EU country to approve the accord.

 Lawmakers representing Germany's 16 states voted in favor of the treaty, which streamlines the bloc's decision-making process and protects human rights.

Officials of all 27 bloc members signed the treaty in December in Lisbon. All EU states must ratify the document, before it takes effect.

 Only Ireland is required to hold a referendum on the issue.

The Lisbon Treaty replaces a draft EU constitution, which French and Dutch voters rejected in 2005.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.