Thursday

21st Feb 2019

Klaus pledges to be last to sign the Lisbon Treaty

  • Vaclav Klaus says he is not the 'last mohican' on the question of the treaty (Photo: wikipedia)

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has pledged to be the last in the EU to sign the Lisbon Treaty, raising fears about the future of the document which has been several painful years in the making.

The Czech parliament has approved the treaty, but the president's signature is needed to complete the process, a fact that the eurosceptic Mr Vaclav has dangled over the rest of the member states on several occasions.

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

"I will certainly not rush," Mr Klaus told Czech Radio, reports DPA. "I will certainly wait until after all those things about which I have talked about, which include a constitutional complaint by our senators ... happen."

"The Irish have not voted again. Poland has not signed the Lisbon Treaty, and Germany has not signed the Lisbon Treaty. So I am not the last Mohican who is fighting against all," he said.

He has always said he would wait until the after the Irish have voted in a second referendum on the treaty, expected in Ireland in the autumn, before signing off. But in recent days, he has increased his anti-treaty rhetoric.

The latest opinion polls show that the Irish are likely to vote Yes this time round, with the approval of all 27 member states needed to put the treaty into force.

However, the treaty is currently being examined by Germany's constitutional court (a verdict is due at the end of June), the Polish president, also a critic of the document, has not signed it, and it is facing a court ruling in the Czech Republic.

The British question

Mr Klaus' tactics could result in the treaty never being put into action as the longer it takes for the treaty to be fully ratified across the EU, the greater the chances of a conservative government coming into power in Britain.

A general election must be held in Britain by June 2010, and the Conservatives, widely expected to win over the governing but damaged Labour Party, has pledged to put the treaty to a referendum if it is not in already in force.

Conservative leader David Cameron clashed with Prime Minister Gordon Brown in parliament on Tuesday (23 June) over the treaty, and particularly the guarantees on how it should be interpreted in three areas - tax, neutrality and social issues - secured by Ireland at last week's EU summit.

The guarantees, to be formally enshrined into EU law after the treaty is in force, were part of a general package designed to encourage Irish voters say Yes in the autumn poll.

Mr Cameron took Mr Brown to task for not having a debate on Ireland's guarantees in parliament now. He also asked why Irish citizens were "being forced to give their views twice" while British voters had had no referendum themselves.

For his part, Irish leader Brian Cowen, fresh from securing war support from Mr Brown at the summit for making the protocols legally binding, has said believes Ireland will vote Yes this time round.

"I believe the people will say 'yes' on this occasion. I am just not prepared to contemplate defeat, " he told Irish radio earlier in the week.

However, the exact date for the referendum remains unclear, although Mr Cowen has hinted it will take place on 2 October.

He expected to name the day in two week's time when legislation to allow the referendum to take place goes through parliament, reports the Irish Times.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  2. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  3. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  4. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  5. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  6. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  7. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  8. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us