Klaus & the Lisbon Treaty

Czech PM reassures EU over treaty, Klaus silent


Prague – Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer told European Union leaders on Wednesday it was just a matter of time before President Václav Klaus signs the EU’s Lisbon treaty.

Despite Fischer’s reassurances, Václav Klaus remains silent on the charter. Its fate lies largely in his hands following Ireland’s approval of it last Friday but he has not said when, or whether, he will sign it.

Poland has not signed the reform pact yet either and Polish President Lech Kaczyński keeps postponing the date. His spokesperson reiterates that it is a “deal done” and sooner or later the president will sign the pact.

Confident Fischer

Following the talks with the EU leaders Jan Fischer stressed that he was confident Klaus would sign the treaty by the end of this year. But as BBC pointes out, Fischer has little power over Klaus. He has never received any assurances from the euroskeptic president in this respect.

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“I am fully and deeply convinced that there is no reason for anxiety in Europe. In the Czech Republic the question is not whether yes or no, the question is when,” Fischer said in an
audio-conference with a Brussels-based news conference.

“I believe that everything is in place for the ratification of the Lisbon treaty to be fully completed in the Czech Republic by the end of this year,” he said.

An aircraft problem prevented Fischer flying to Brussels so he spoke by video conference to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU presidency until the end of this year.

Lack of word from Klaus

Only the Polish and Czech presidents’ signatures are still needed on the treaty, which outlines reforms to streamline decision-making in the 27-country bloc and create a long-term president and a stronger foreign policy chief.

Václav Klaus regards the treaty as a step towards a European “superstate” in which national states will lose sovereignty. He insists that he must wait for the Czech Constitutional Court to rule on a legal challenge filed by a group of senators.

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Asked whether he had any assurances from Klaus that he would sign the treaty if the Court rules in favor of the act, the Czech PM did not give any direct answer.

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“All the messages I have received indicate there is no reason for the president to defer his signature once the Constitutional Court reaches a decision,” he said.

Barroso, Reinfeldt and Buzek said the EU was not trying to put pressure on the Czech public. But Swedish EU Affairs Minister Cecilia Malstrom will hold talks in Prague on Thursday and Buzek himself will go on Friday.

Neither has talks scheduled with Klaus. Reinfeldt said discussions on whom to name for top EU jobs, including the powerful new president, were on hold while Klaus’s decision remained uncertain.

More on the Lisbon Treaty:
All eyes on Czech President after Irish referendum
Czech Senate gives green light to Lisbon Treaty
Blogger: An Open Letter to Václav Klaus

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