Monday

22nd Jan 2018

Czech senators in fresh move against Lisbon treaty

A group of centre-right Czech senators has attacked a national law linked with the EU's Lisbon Treaty and plans to ask the country's constitutional court to suspend ratification until the legislation is changed.

The disputed Czech law prevents the national government from approving transfer of powers to the EU without a green light from parliament. It was required by some lawmakers as a condition before they voted on the Lisbon Treaty.

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  • Prague is yet again producing question marks about the fate of the EU's Lisbon Treaty (Photo: European Commission Audiovisual Library)

But the critics from the senate, the Czech upper parliamentary chamber, claim such a transfer of powers to Brussels should always be approved by no less than a constitutional majority, which is 60 percent of the lower house deputies and senators, while the law on the special EU mandate only requires a simple majority voting.

"We will file the complaint next week," Jiri Oberfalzer, Civic Democrats senator (ODS) told the CTK agency on Wednesday (19 August), specifying that along with his like-minded colleagues, he would propose that the constitutional court define the minimal powers that make the country a sovereign state.

He also requires that the court's own influence be boosted by entitling it to control whether individual steps taken by EU institutions are in line with the Czech constitution.

While the senators argue the ratification of the Lisbon treaty should be suspended until the proposed changes are adopted, they are also preparing a fresh complaint against the new treaty of the 27-strong bloc, set to be voted on in Ireland's referendum on 2 October.

Apart from Ireland, and partially also Germany and Poland where ratification is also in the last stages,the Czech Republic is the only other EU member state still not to have approved the Lisbon Treaty.

President Vaclav Klaus has made it clear he is in no rush to sign the document, both waiting for the initiatives by the ODS senators and for the result of the Irish poll.

Last autumn, Czech constitutional judges ruled that the Lisbon Treaty does not go against the spirit and provisions of the national charter and even its opponents say they believe their latest manoeuvre has little chance of success.

The Czech lower chamber approved the EU treaty this February and the Senate passed it in May.

Prague is currently preparing for early parliamentary elections, due on 9 and 10 October.

According to a poll conducted in August and released on Wednesday (19 August), the centre-left Social Democrats would win the election with 33 percent of votes, closely followed by the centre-right ODS with 31 percent.

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