Sunday

18th Aug 2019

Czechs prepare for possible second Irish No

  • The Czechs are preparing a plan B to deal with the issue of the number of commissioners in the even of a second Irish No (Photo: Portuguese EU Presidency)

The Czech EU presidency is preparing a contingency plan for one of the most sensitive areas in the EU institutional set-up in case Ireland rejects Europe's new treaty for a second time later this year.

According to the Irish Times newspaper, Prague is working on a plan for how to reduce the size of the European Commission should Irish voters once again vote No in autumn.

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

"On the composition of the commission we have to be ready for both possible scenarios: One scenario is that the Lisbon Treaty enters force at the end this year or we have to act and co-operate in the EU under Nice," deputy prime minister Alexander Vondra told the newspaper.

The rules of the Nice Treaty state that if the number of EU member states reaches 27, the number of commissioners would then be reduced. The EU's pending set of new rules, known as the Lisbon Treaty, however allows the continuation of one commissioner per member state if all EU governments unanimously agree to it.

As part of a patchwork deal hammered out late in 2008 in the aftermath of Ireland's No, Dublin has already secured a deal to invoke this one-commissioner-per-state agreement. The Irish government hope this and other parts of the deal will act as an incentive to persuade Irish voters to say yes to the Lisbon Treaty.

If they vote No again, the bloc will remain with the Nice Treaty and a quick solution to the commissioner issue will have to be found so that the next EU commission, which ends its term in autumn, can be put in place.

One solution that has been touted would be for all member states to maintain a commissioner except for the country that holds the position of EU foreign policy chief. At the moment, this would mean that Spain would lose its commissioner.

Having a national in the EU's executive is important to member states – particularly small ones - who believe it means keeping a power channel at the heart of Brussels decision-making, although commissioners are supposed to act independently of their nationality.

Meanwhile, Ireland is not the only country with a continued question mark over the Lisbon Treaty.

The Czech Republic has also not ratified the document. Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a eurosceptic and strong opponent of the treaty, on Wednesday repeated his opposition in a message directed to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

"I hope that Mr Barroso will visit our country more frequently and that I will change [his opinion] and he will very soon join my camp in the matter of the Lisbon Treaty," he said according to Czech news agency CTK.

The treaty still has yet to be passed by the Czech parliament.

Orban praises von der Leyen after first face-to-face

The EU Commission president-elect said she had a "good talk" with Hungary's controversial premier. Orban returned the praise, saying said the former German defence minister "thinks with [a] central Europeans' head".

Von der Leyen aims to 'rebalance Europe'

The German EU Commission president-elect hopes to bridge divisions within the EU, as she meets with EU leaders setting up her team of commissioners.

Johnson's call for new Brexit deal hits EU 'no'

The UK will not nominate a new EU commissioner, the new British PM said in his first address to parliament, and insisted that the Irish backstop can be renegotiated - without giving any specifics on alternative solutions.

Selmayr shifted to Vienna, ahead of von der Leyen arrival

London and Washington had been rumoured, but instead the German political mastermind behind the EU commission will now work as a quasi-EU ambassador in Vienna. He irked many in Brussels but also shook things up.

Macron: 14 EU states agree on a migration 'mechanism'

"The haggling around rescues in the Mediterranean has to be ended," German foreign minister Heiko Mass said after the Paris meeting on migration. However, details of Emmanuel Macron's 'solidarity mechanism' were not specific.

News in Brief

  1. Trump turned down: Greenland not for sale
  2. UK Libdems would back Clarke or Harman as new PM
  3. Six countries agree to take 'Open Arms' ship migrants
  4. Gibraltar judge: Iranian ship should be released
  5. Increasing fears of a global recession
  6. Far-right hate crimes on the rise in Germany
  7. EU steel tariffs have 'worked well' so far
  8. Italian court: Migrant rescue ship can enter Italian waters

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  2. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  3. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  4. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  5. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide
  6. US offers Johnson helping hand on Brexit
  7. Italy: New government without Salvini in the making
  8. Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us