Monday

18th Feb 2019

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

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 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.

Focus

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.

Exclusive

ESA pushback against new EU space agency plan

The European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU, has asked the European Commission not to rename an EU agency as the similar-sounding European Union Agency for the Space Programme.

Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table

EU probes into Hungary and Poland on rule of law and democracy are back on the agenda of EU affairs ministers - but with little guidance from the Romanian presidency, without a clear idea where the procedures are headed.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns EU on release of Islamist fighters
  2. Venezuela expels 'conspiratorial' MEPs
  3. Holocaust dispute upsets Israel's EU lobbying
  4. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  5. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  6. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  7. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  8. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post

Agenda

Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK

Brexit talks will continue in Brussels, as UK PM Theresa May's government is trying to find a way out of the political impasse at home. Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee will speak at the European Parliament next week.

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

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us