Sunday

18th Aug 2019

Slovakia may seek Czech-style opt-out on Lisbon

  • The Slovak flag seen though a droplet of water (Photo: formulaphoto)

Slovakia may also seek an opt-out from part of the Lisbon Treaty if the Czech Republic gets an exemption designed to prevent ethnic Germans expelled after World War II from claiming back their property.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico explained the decision on Czech national TV on Sunday (18 October).

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

"We will not leave Slovakia in a situation of uncertainty if we feel that one of the seceding countries of former Czechoslovakia has negotiated an exception," he said. "For us the Benes Decrees are such an important part of the rule of law, that we cannot allow for Slovakia to be left in any kind of legal uncertainty."

Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak reinforced the message in a separate TV appearance.

"Anything which is to be arranged for the Czech Republic has to be approved by everybody, which means by us as well. We would not agree to something that would leave us at a disavantage," he said.

The Benes Decrees are a set of laws enacted by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile between 1939 and 1945 which led to the deportation of 2.6 million ethnic Germans after the war. The country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in a peaceful process in 1993.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus last week made his signature of the Lisbon Treaty conditional on his country securing an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a section of the pact which he says could be used by German plaintiffs to challenge the expulsions.

The multiplication of last-minute amendments to Lisbon is a headache for EU leaders who had hoped to use an upcoming summit in late October to decide on appointments for a new set of senior posts in Brussels.

It has also raised questions of whether an amended text will have to be re-ratified by the 27 EU states.

Mr Klaus in an interview with Czech daily Lidove Noviny on Saturday lowered the stakes on re-ratification by saying he would be happy with an Irish-type legal guarantee.

Ireland's guarantees, that Lisbon will not affect taxation or abortion law, did not require re-ratification because they have no legal force until they are added to the next EU treaty, due when Croatia or Iceland joins the union.

"The train has already travelled so fast and so far that I guess it will not be possible to stop it or turn it around, however much we would wish to," Mr Klaus said, referring to the Lisbon Treaty's entry into life.

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