Friday

19th Oct 2018

Sarkozy warns Czech president on EU treaty

  • "It will be necessary to draw the consequences", said French President Nicolas Sarkozy (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned the Czech Republic that it will have to face "consequences" if it continues to delay final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty following a Yes vote in a referendum in Ireland next month.

Speaking after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday (17 September), Mr Sarkozy was careful to praise Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer as a "man of great quality" before taking a clear sideswipe at the country's president, Vaclav Klaus, who has indicated he will postpone as long as possible putting his signature under the treaty - the final step of ratification.

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 stated clearly that if the Irish say Yes, there is no question that we will accept to stay in a no man's land with a Europe that does not have the institutions to cope with the crisis."

"It will be necessary to draw the consequences - but those will be the subject of another meeting," said the president.

Mr Sarkozy, who was not asked about the issue, volunteered the warning at the end of a press conference, using it as a parting shot before closing the session.

His words come as Brussels frets that even if the Irish say Yes to the treaty in a vote on 2 October, the EU will not directly be put out of its institutional uncertainty because of foot-dragging by President Klaus.

Although the Czech houses of parliament have ratified the treaty, Mr Klaus has indicated he could delay signature until the beginning of next year.

In such a case, he would likely be the last obstacle to the treaty coming into force across the European Union as Polish President Lech Kaczynski, another reluctant signatory, earlier this week said he would complete ratification shortly after a Yes vote in Ireland.

"It is certainly a fact that several government leaders perceive the ratification process in the Czech Republic with a degree of nervousness," said Mr Fischer after the Brussels meeting, in which some of the large member states made it clear that Czech "national interests" would be damaged by any delay.

The commission

The shape of the next commission, as the most pressing institutional question that needs to be dealt with, is dependent on whether the Lisbon Treaty comes into place or the current Nice Treaty rules continue to apply.

"If there's a Yes [in Ireland] and still there are uncertainties in the Czech Republic, then we'll have to figure out if there's any possibility to get a date, an answer. If it's just postponed on and on, then we'll have to form a Nice commission, even if Lisbon is ratified by everybody else," Swedish Europe minister Cecilia Malmstrom told EUobserver earlier this week.

With its mandate running out at the end of October, there is concern that the commission could spend several weeks in a caretaker state at a time when it should be an active player in important decisions on climate change and the economy.

Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times

Covering two-third of the world's economic output and governing more than half of the world's population, the Europe and Asian leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday tests potentials for outlining a post-Trump world order.

Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

EU leaders at the summit in Brussels want partnerships with north African states that go beyond migration. But internal EU reforms on asylum, especially sharing of migrants and refugees between member states, remain stuck.

EU leaders worried about Italy's budget

Some EU leaders warned that Italy's plan to boost its budget spending despite the second largest debt in the eurozone, could hamper efforts to reform the single currency's framework.

Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

News in Brief

  1. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  2. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed
  3. Greek foreign minister resigns over Macedonia deal
  4. No Brexit backstop means no approval, says EU parliament
  5. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  6. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  7. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  8. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules

Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times

Covering two-third of the world's economic output and governing more than half of the world's population, the Europe and Asian leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday tests potentials for outlining a post-Trump world order.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  2. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  3. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  4. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  5. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  6. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned
  7. MEPs demand more from EU on human rights in Asia
  8. EU migration solutions are on the table - let's adopt them

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us