Sunday

17th Feb 2019

Czech government blesses EU treaty

The Czech government has advised the country's Constitutional Court that the EU's Lisbon treaty does not violate the Czech Republic's own constitution, improving the climate for ratification in the most problematic EU state after the Irish No vote.

"Due to its [Lisbon's] ratification, no substantial change in the arrangement of the democratic legal order will occur," the text of a legal opinion submitted by the government to the court late last week states, Czech daily Lidove noviny reported.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"The government says in its position that...on the basis of legal expert reports the Lisbon treaty complies with the Czech Republic's constitutional order," Europe minister Alexandr Vondra told the CTK news agency on Saturday (28 June).

The court is set to make its ruling on the question in September or October, allowing the Czech parliament to complete the ratification process before Prague takes over the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2009.

Analysts expect the EU treaty to get through the 200-seat lower house. But the eurosceptic ODS party, many of whose members say Lisbon is dead after the Irish referendum, holds a 41-strong majority in the 81-seat upper house.

The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus - an outspoken enemy of Lisbon - must also sign the text to make it law. The largely honorary office of the Czech president would find it hard to block a parliamentary decision in practice, however.

With Ireland planning to present its first thoughts on how to deal with the No vote at the EU summit only in October, the new EU treaty is unlikely to enter into force before the June 2009 elections, even if it passes through the Czech system smoothly.

The situation is set to see Prague enjoy the full perks of its EU presidency, with prime minister Topolanek chairing EU and international summits instead of having to stand aside for the new permanent EU "president" as envisaged by the Lisbon text.

"Now we will get our presidencies," a senior Czech diplomat in Brussels wrote in an SMS to a Swedish counterpart the day the Irish referendum result came out on 13 June. Stockholm is to take over the EU chair after Prague in mid-2009.

Ratification map

France, Germany and the European Commission have called for ratification to continue despite the Irish No, pointing to a scenario in which Ireland stands isolated against 26 EU states and faces pressure for a re-vote, as occured with the 2001 Nice treaty referendum.

Sixteen EU countries have so far definitively ratified Lisbon. The Finnish, Polish and German parliaments have approved the text, but are awaiting their presidents' signatures. The Swedish, Dutch, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, and Cypriot legislatures will finish voting between July and the autumn.

The Czech Republic is not the only problem country left, with the Polish president's office questioning whether the treaty still legally exists and the German constitutional court considering a legal challenge.

Austrian leader Alfred Gusenbauer last week said he would also call a referendum if Lisbon is tweaked for a second Irish vote.

EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency

A resolution demanding Saudi Arabia release prisoners and stop gender-based violence was passed by over 500 MEPs on Thursday in Strasbourg. They also demanded greater transparency over Brussels-based lobbying for the Saudis, following an EUobserver exclusive.

Saudis paying College of Europe to lobby MEPs

The Bruges-based College of Europe is setting up private meetings with the EU institutions for seven ambassadors plus seven high-level officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

German, French MEPs tried to block #MeToo measure

A majority of MEPs accepted signing a declaration on appropriate behaviour - but some voted against. The opposition came mostly from centre-right German and far-right French MEPs.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us