The Portuguese presidency decided to arrange the main signing ceremony in the main chapel of the "Manueline "Monastery of Jerónimos from 1502 in the "Belém district of "Lisbon, partly because this location was also used to sign the Portuguese treaty of accession to the European Union in 1985.
The signing itself took place on a podium with a massive "LCD screen in the background, displaying the national flag of a respective member state waving when the representatives from the member state signed the Treaty.
British Prime Minister "Gordon Brown was the only national representative who was planned to sign the Treaty in the ceremony but did not take part, leaving "Foreign Secretary "David Miliband to sign the Treaty alone. Instead, he signed the document at a lunch for heads of state and government later the same day. A requirement to appear before a committee of British MPs was cited as the reason for his absence. This brought criticism from opposition parties. The Conservatives claimed it made him appear “gutless” and referred to it as a "stunt” which proved Brown was "not very good at international diplomacy". The Liberal Democrats claimed it raised "serious questions" and "Chris Huhne said showed "inept and peevish behaviour that leaves Gordon Brown's reputation for honest dealing with our EU partners hanging by a thread". Parts of British media also criticised Brown for this, suggesting he did it because he was ashamed to sign the Treaty, with Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, claiming that Brown was capable of attending the signing but instead chose not to.
After the group photo outside the monastery, the leaders took a ride on one of "Lisbon electric trams together. This unusual way of transporting heads of state and government was described as a symbol of the fraternity of European countries on the path of "European integration. The trip ended at the "National Coach Museum of Portugal, wherein a festive lunch was held amid a historical collection of royal carriages. The delay of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown resulted with him arriving at the museum and signing the Treaty there.
Protestors were present in Lisbon when the treaty was signed. For instance the British pressure group I Want a Referendum staged a demonstration against the treaty being ratified in the United Kingdom by means of approval only by the "British Parliament, without holding an additional "referendum.
The "Treaty of Amsterdam established "Brussels as the seat of all normal "European Council meetings and as the signing coincided with one of those meetings, there was disagreement as to the venue. Belgium, keen not to set any precedent of holding mandatory meetings outside of Brussels against the treaty, wanted the meeting in Brussels whereas the Portuguese EU presidency wanted it in Lisbon in order to call the treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon.
The result was to sign the treaty in Lisbon, then continue the meeting in Brussels which became an open invitation for the media to attack the leaders for taking 27 separate unnecessary plane journeys, undermining the EU's environmental standing just as it sought to get international backing behind a post-Kyoto agreement. In the end, some leaders (such as the three "Benelux leaders) plane pooled.
The television coverage of the ceremony was produced by "Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, the public broadcaster of Portugal. The ceremony was broadcast live on for instance the website of the Portuguese presidency as well as on international television news networks, including "Euronews.
The British leader raised eyebrows by arriving late for a grand ceremony to sign the new EU treaty in Lisbon last month with what many regarded as a flimsy excuse -- he had had to appear before a committee of MPs.
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