Monday 12 October 2009

Roundup on Czech constitutional crisis over EU Lisbon Treaty

Here are some news and comments about the Czech constitutional crisis, caused by President Vaclav Klaus’ refusal to sign the ratification instrument of the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon.

First a general reference to the copious information about the Lisbon Treaty, including the ratification process, among the 1,300 plus posts on this blog. Look for the latest in the side bar, or use the search function for older entries.


Background note

See an excellent background picture, in “All eyes on Czech Euro-skeptic president as EU reform treaty nears ratification (Breaking News 24/7, possibly lifted from the Associated Press, 11 October 2009).


Out of step?

Once again it is far from clear that Mr Klaus is in step with his fellow citizens, says Cleves Commentary (10 October 2009), in “Lisbon: Is Klaus the Democratic Saviour of Europe or the Anti-Democrat of the Czech Republic”.


EU position

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden, the current holder of the EU Council Presidency, laid out the position of the member states of the European Union, at the ceremony where Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski signed the ratification instrument, in “A step closer to the Lisbon Treaty” (Swedish Presidency, 10 October 2009):

"Now Poland has joined the rest of the countries of Europe to move the European cooperation forward based on a new treaty. A Treaty that will better reflect this new union of 27 countries and a Treaty that will embrace the openness to new members.

With the Polish approval, all obstacles to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty have been removed in 26 of the EU's 27 Member States. Now only the Czech Republic remains. The Treaty is there being examined in the country’s Constitutional Court and then, President Vaclav Klaus has to sign.

Today, President Kaczynskis signature brings us one step closer to a new Treaty. However, the Czech Republic still needs to complete its ratification of the Treaty through a signature by President Klaus. Europe eagerly awaits this to happen."


Czech emergency meeting

David Charter. in “Czech Cabinet in emergency session to force President Klaus to sign Lisbon treaty” (Times Online, 12 October 2009).

Czech constitutional experts set out several options before today’s Cabinet meeting in Prague.


Breach of confidentiality? has a clarifying item on Klaus’ accusation that Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, acting President of the EU Council, disclosed confidential information: “Reinfeldt dismisses Klaus' words that their talk was confidential” (Czech Happenings, 11 October 2009).


Neverending demands?

Lasse Rune Hansen wonders if Klaus is going to continue raisin new objections to the Lisbon Treaty. The leaders of the other states simply have to reject Klaus’ demand, in “Václav Klaus: forbehold overfor Charteret om Grundlæggende Rettigheder” (in Danish,, undated)


Face saving or sabotage?

It is questionable whether Klaus would be satisfied with a mere statement/protocol - he is clearly either going for a political face-saving victory or for a sabotage, reasons Whatseuropinion?, in “Lisbon Treaty’s prospects with one man away from ratification” (11 October 2009).

If the Czech government does not swing behind Klaus, it must confront him at home.


Freedom to exit

« Le Président Vaclav Klaus contre le traité de Lisbonne « is a long post in French (Europe mon bon souci, 11 October 2009), where Noëlle Lenoir remarks that Vaclav Klaus seems to have become a dissident only after the fall of Communism. She records Klaus’ repeated delaying manoeuvres: Knowing that the renewed legal challenges by the 17 Czech Senators will be defeated, he has devised a new objection, by demanding a treaty change.

The day will come, when we will have to accept that the states unwilling to participate in the game of mutual compromises and concessions leave the European Union.


Tory link

British voters: Václav Klaus needs you”, on Dr Sean’s Diary (9 October 2009) ponders the possibilities for Klaus to fend off the Czech democratic institutions, until the British Conservatives arrive in power.


The Czech government and parliament have a fundamental task at hand: They need to solve the constitutional crisis brought upon the Czech Republic through the machinations of Vaclav Klaus. This will be a test of Czech parliamentary democracy.

Ralf Grahn

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