Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Lisbon Treaty: Czech mates

The Parliament of the Czech Republic has voted to postpone the ratification debate on the EU Treaty of Lisbon until 3 February 2009.

EurActiv in the article ‘Czechs postpone Lisbon Treaty vote’ cites Prime Minister Mirek Topolaneks difficulties in keeping his largely eurosceptic ODS (Civic Democrat) party together after a divisive leadership contest and the exit of founder Vaclav Klaus, currently President of the Republic:

Jean Quatremer of the excellent Coulisses de Bruxelles blog quotes Prime Minister Topolanek holding the Lisbon Treaty hostage to a “truce” to be negotiated with the opposition pro-EU Social Democrats for the duration of the six month Czech EU Council Presidency starting on 1 January 2009. The blog post ‘Lisbonne: nouveau pas de deux tchĂ©que’ can be found here:


Regardless of the combined reasons, which are purely domestic, we can be assured that the Czech Prime Minister and the Czech Parliament are the only ones among their peers in 27 member states to have made a deliberate decision to disregard the target date of 1 January 2009 set in unison by the member states’ governments for the Lisbon Treaty to enter into force.

The Czech Republic may be as competent as any other member state drawn by lot to chair the Council, but Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek for domestic reasons and President Vaclav Klaus by his disregard for his European partners have set the tone for the Czech Council Presidency and laid the foundations for their country’s reputation in Europe.

I sometimes wonder at the class of hero the anti-EU has to adulate, given the dearth of uplifting choices.

Ralf Grahn