Saturday, 10 October 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty: Poland’s Kaczynski signs today

After an extended period of procrastination and contradictory statements by spokespersons, the web site of Polish President Lech Kaczynski confirms that he will formally ratify the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon today, Saturday 10 October 2009 at a ceremony beginning at noon (local time).

Here is the programme, which mentions the invited dignitaries who will speak:

12 PM Beginning of the ceremony

• Remarks by President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Lech Kaczyński

• Signing of the Treaty

• Remarks by President of the European Parliament, Mr. Jerzy Buzek

• Remarks by Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt

• Remarks by President of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso


***

The Lisbon Treaty has been democratically approved by all 27 member states of the European Union.

When Poland deposits the ratification instrument in Rome, it will probably be the 25th EU member to complete the process.

After the resounding Yes in the Irish Lisbon 2009 referendum, the outcome in Ireland is clear, but I have not seen information about the timetable for the parliamentary procedures and formal ratification. If Ireland deposits the ratification instrument after Poland, it will be number 26.

Thereafter, the missing link is the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus reluctantly came out at this early stage – more than two years after the treaty negotiations started – to demand an exemption from the Lisbon Treaty, similar to Britain’s and Poland’s opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

In effect, this would be a treaty change, if we take Klaus’ statement literally.

The only specific reason Klaus has given (in addition to his general loathing of the European Union and the Lisbon Treaty) is his fear that the EU Charter might somehow enable expulsed ethnic Germans to reclaim lost property.

Nobody knows if this is the last obstacle Klaus intends to invent, but he has managed to cause a severe constitutional crisis in the Czech Republic and loads of problems for the EU member states, anxious to get the EU institutions working.

What Klaus has done to the international reputation of the Czech Republic – and his own – we can only guess.



Ralf Grahn