Wednesday 14 October 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty: Czech internal clarification

Following his meeting with Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso spoke of the need to “find a solution for the issues not yet clarified internally” in the Czech Republic.

It is no exaggeration to call it a constitutional crisis: President Vaclav Klaus has caught the Czech government and parliament by surprise by issuing new demands for signing the ratification instrument for the Lisbon Treaty, he squarely opposes the authority of the government and parliament, and his collusion with internal opponents and foreign politicians undermines faith in the democratic institutions of the Czech Republic.

It looks as if the government still does not know exactly, what President Klaus’ demand is, although it is clear that the reasons he has expressed in public are false.

If the democratically legitimate institutions in the Czech constitutional system fail to assert themselves, Klaus will shift a parliamentary democracy into something akin to a presidential democracy, although he has been elected by parliament, not the citizens.

Time is precious before the European Council on 29 to 30 October 2009, because the internal clarifications need to leave room for the EU member states to assess the proposed solutions and to respond to the challenge.

If the Czech Republic fails, the member states of the European Union will have to find ways to bring the rest of the union forward.

Ralf Grahn

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