Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

Czech government to give up EU Charter opt-out

  • The Charter enshrines a string of social, economic and political rights to EU nationals (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Czech Republic is to abandon its opposition to the EU's charter of rights and the fiscal compact treaty in a sign that there could be warmer relations between Prague's new government and Brussels.

The country's newly-appointed prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, will travel to Brussels on Thursday (20 February) for meetings with the European Commission. He said he would inform commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso of his country's change of heart.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The Czech Republic was "ready to rescind its request for an opt-out from the charter of human rights and freedoms," Sobotka told reporters on Wednesday (19 February).

"We have started serious discussion on joining the fiscal pact," he added.

The Charter enshrines a string of social, economic and political rights to EU nationals, but was opposed by former President Vaclav Klaus, who argued that it would invite legal challenges before the EU's courts by families of Germans who were expelled from territory in modern day Czech Republic after the Second World War.

Ultimately, Klaus insisted on an opt-out from the Charter as the main condition of his signing the Lisbon treaty during a difficult ratification process in 2009.

The new Social Democrat-led government was sworn into office at the end of January, bringing an end to a seven month power vacuum in the country caused by the collapse of the centre-right government last June.

Its early commitments should pave the way for warmer relations between Brussels and Prague following years of strain between the EU institutions and former President Klaus.

The fiscal compact agreement, which was struck by EU leaders in December 2011, commits countries to putting the bloc's limits on budget deficit and debt levels of 3 percent and 60 percent of GDP respectively, into national constitutions.

Critics say that it limits the flexibility of governments to put in place economic stimulus measures during times of recession. The UK is the only other EU country not to have signed up to the fiscal compact.

Czechs abandon EU fiscal pact, for now

The new EU treaty on fiscal discipline will be signed by 25 instead of 26 member states after the Czech Republic joined the UK in staying out.

Czech court green-lights EU Lisbon Treaty

The Czech constitutional court has unanimously ruled that the disputed parts of the Lisbon Treaty are in line with the Czech constitution but the judges admitted they did not analyse the treaty as a whole, sparking speculations that the issue could be raised again by its critics in the country.

Prominent Czech MEP pushed aside for party-fixer

Czech MEP Libor Roucek has just learnt a hard lesson about the true distance between Brussels and Prague, finding himself so far down his party's list that he is unlikely to return to the European Parliament.

Czech government backs EU fiscal pact

The Czech government has agreed to adopt the EU's fiscal pact, as centre-left PM Bohuslav Sobotka continues to tread a more pro-EU path.

Opinion

The human rights aspects of Grenoble's 'burkini' controversy

Sooner or later, the European Court of Human Rights will have a final say on whether Grenoble is allowed to permit the 'burkini'. Its judgment, like the one permitting the outlawing of full-face veils, risks influencing policymaking across the continent.

Opinion

Council must act on core of EU migration package

By only screening, fingerprinting or relocating (some) refugees, or by outsourcing our border control to Turkey and giving Erdogan our keys, we will not solve the current problems.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  2. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  3. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK
  4. The human rights aspects of Grenoble's 'burkini' controversy
  5. Council must act on core of EU migration package
  6. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  7. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  8. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us