Thursday

27th Jun 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.

New 'ID' far-right EU parliament group falls short

The new far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) political group fails to muster enough support among other eurosceptics to become a heavyweight in the European Parliament. But with 73 MEPs, from nine EU states, it managed to secure the fifth spot.

Malta's ex-commissioner loses court case against EU

John Dalli was ousted as European Commissioner for health in 2012 over a tobacco-lobbying scandal. On Thursday, the general court of the European Union dismissed his case against the European Commission.

Analysis

Sibiu: EU leaders prepare post-Brexit show of unity

With the European elections just three weeks away, the EU-27 will try to set the agenda for the next years for the EU institutions. But with persisting divisions on key issues, unity will be an achievement in itself.

Exclusive

Ombudsman backs EUobserver on MEP expenses

The European Parliament should have granted access to documents on a decision about how transparent MEPs should be in future with their office expenses, says EU Ombudsman.

EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

EU institutions want Facebook to relax its rules, to allow pan-European political groups to carry out EU-wide campaigns. Facebook has yet to implement the demands - posing questions on the extent to which Europe relies on the US tech firm.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us