Friday, 9 October 2009

Victor Hugo and Prague Castle

In ”Quatrevingt-Treize” [Ninety Three], Victor Hugo evokes the catastrophic run of a loose cannon on board The Claymore, a British corvette sent by William Pitt, the Younger, to bring succour to the 1793 royalist uprising in Brittany against republican France.

A “loose cannon” has since become a figure of speech.

Dramatis personae, 2009: David Cameron, William Hague, Vaclav Klaus.


Prague Castle

Yesterday evening, we reported the latest move by Czech President Vaclav Klaus to derail the EU Treaty of Lisbon, democratically approved by 27 member states, the Czech Republic included, in “EU Lisbon Treaty: Erratic Presidents playing games” (8 October 2009).

By their total disregard for the democratic approval by the member states and the needs of the EU institutions, Klaus’ English friends have been supportive of any disruptive action he might invent. Participants at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester collected signatures in support of continued obstruction by Klaus.

Let us look at some of the news and comment on Klaus’ actions.

Jean Quatremer advises the Czech citizens that they should never again allow their parlamentarians to elect an irascible and uncontrollable clown as head of state, in “Traité de Lisbonne: Kaczynski signe, Klaus tergiverse” (Coulisses de Bruxelles, 8 October 2009):

« ...Klaus donne une belle leçon à ses concitoyens : la prochaine fois, ils devront veiller à ce que leurs parlementaires n’élisent plus un clown irascible et incontrôlable à la tête de l’État. »

Daniel Antal says that Vaclav Klaus is a very-very selfish man, because his obstruction to the Treaty is not in the interest of the of the Czech people; in "Klaus’ Footnote in European History" (Central Europe Activ, 8 October 2009).

EUbusiness sums up the news on Klaus’ latest ambush, in “Poland to ratify EU reform treaty but Czechs set conditions” (8 October 2009).


The tragicomedy of Lisbon Treaty ratification shows the utter weakness of an organisation built on the “liberum veto”.

If one individual manages to cause more damage than he already has, or if he wrecks the Lisbon Treaty as it is, the member states of the European Union must abandon the requirement for ratification by all member states.

As a first step, they should redesign the EU as a union between ratifying states, with the substantive provisions of the Lisbon Treaty.

The non-ratifying states would bear the onus of their constitutional and personal weaknesses.

Ralf Grahn