P. (kidantarctica) wrote in ontd_political,

Czech court endorses Lisbon treaty

President Vaclav Klaus is last obstacle to full ratification of EU reform treaty after court rules it is in line with constitution

The Czech Republic's constitutional court has endorsed the Lisbon treaty on European Union reform, ruling that it is in line with the country's constitution.

Today's decision has removed the last legal hurdle for the treaty and intensifies pressure on the Eurosceptic president, Vaclav Klaus, to sign the document. Klaus is now the final obstacle to the full ratification of the treaty, designed to increase the EU's global influence.

The court was asked to rule by a group of senators who filed a motion arguing that the treaty was not in line with the constitution.

In his ruling, Pavel Rychetsky, the court's chief judge, said the treaty "does not violate the constitution".

Negotiators say the reforms – creating a new EU president post, giving more power to the foreign policy chief and streamlining EU decision-making – are needed to make the EU more effective.

Last week, EU leaders agreed to Klaus's last-minute demand for an opt-out from the treaty's charter of fundamental rights in return for his signature on it. Klaus said he was not planning to make any further demands.

The Czech leader had contended that without the opt-out his country would be vulnerable to property claims by ethnic Germans expelled after the second world war. But critics said Klaus, who fears the treaty would hand over too many national powers to EU institutions in Brussels, was attempting to torpedo ratification.

Full ratification of the treaty will trigger the selection of national nominees for the incoming five-year European commission under its president, José Manuel Barroso.

EU leaders hope that, once Klaus signs, a special summit in late November can settle the issue of new jobs – including Tony Blair's fading chances of becoming the first EU president and the possibility of the foreign secretary, David Miliband, getting the job of EU "high representative".

The treaty could officially come into force on 1 December, ending a tortuous ratification passage through 26 EU countries and two referendums in the 27th – Ireland.

The Conservative party leader, David Cameron, had harboured hopes that Klaus could hold out against the treaty long enough for the Tories to win the general election next year. In that case, Cameron had said he would call a referendum on the treaty, even though it has already been ratified by the UK parliament.

He has now come under political fire for indicating that once the treaty has become "part of European law" at the end of the Czech challenge, it will be too late for UK eurosceptics to reopen the issue.


(Editing to update: President Klaus promptly signed the treaty.)
Tags: czech republic, european union
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