Czech Happenings report that president Vaclav Klaus has signed the Lisbon Treaty this afternoon, after it was passed by the Czech Constitutional Court earlier today.
Acting prime minister Jan Fischer has said that he is prepared to countersign the Lisbon Treaty, so that it can enter into force from December.
It now looks as if the last ratification instrument will be deposited with the Italian government in Rome during November. If so, the Lisbon Treaty enters into force on the first day of the following month, i.e. 1 December 2009.
The Swedish presidency of the EU Council has promised to start formal consultation with regard to the president of the European Council and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy on the day following Klaus’ signature, in other words tomorrow.
The leaders of the EU member states will probably meet at an extra European Council next week.
At the same time they need to discuss the nominations for the Commission with president-elect José Manuel Barroso, in order to set the stage for the hearings by the European Parliament, which must approve the new Commission as a body, before it can be formally appointed.
The old Commission and high representative Javier Solana should have been allowed to quit on 31 October, but they will probably have to continue until the end of the year.
In Britain, the Conservative Party leadership’s promise to arrange a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, as long as it has not entered into force – even if dependent only on the whim of a solitary man against the democratic will of 27 national parliaments – now adorns the scrap heap of history (save for the technical details).
According to news reports, Tory leader David Cameron is expected to announce the new party line tomorrow. It is going to be a difficult moment between the remaining shreds of Tory political realism with regard to Britain’s European partners and the anti-EU hardliners among the Conservative Party’s MPs and members as well as the British electorate.
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