Monday

6th Apr 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

New push to kick Orban's party out of centre-right EPP

Member parties from the largest European political family have called for the expulsion of their Hungarian partner - again. This time, two prime ministers joined, but so far the heavyweights have again stayed away.

Already doubts over Belgium's new 'anti-corona government'

Belgium's King Philippe has given interim prime minister Sophie Wilmès the task of forming a government, after seven opposition parties agreed to support it. The agreement came after a political drama - and there are doubts if it will hold.

Analysis

What does Erdoğan want?

By opening Turkey's border, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to push Europe into supporting him in Ankara's negotiations with Russia's Vladimir Putin for a deal on Syria's Idlib.

'Fragmented' Slovakia votes amid corruption woes

Saturday's elections in Slovakia could herald the rise of the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia, or the emergence of a populist anti-corruption candidate, in a country wracked by mistrust since the assassination two years ago of an investigative journalist.

News in Brief

  1. Three arrested in deadly French 'terror' attack
  2. Greece quarantines two migrant camps
  3. UK premier Boris Johnson hospitalised with coronavirus
  4. Former Libyan rebel leader Jibril dies of corona
  5. EU waives customs duties, VAT on vital medical imports
  6. Air France-KLM seeks state-backed loans
  7. New ventilators for EU will take time, Commission says
  8. Drugs firms managing to meet demand, EU says

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Coronabonds clash continues This WEEK
  2. EU depicts Africa's health system as a threat
  3. Coronavirus: Greenland watches ... and waits
  4. Coronavirus exposes lack of common data approach
  5. Virus recovery talks should ditch old taboos, EU's Vestager said
  6. EU's 'Irini' Libya mission: Europe's Operation Cassandra
  7. Slovak army deployed to quarantine Roma settlements
  8. Lockdown: EU officials lobbied via WhatsApp and Skype

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us