The crisis over the EU Lisbon Treaty has deepened after the Czech Republic’s government backed down in a battle with President Vaclav Klaus over his refusal to sign the text.
Jan Fischer, the caretaker prime minister, announced a climb-down after an emergency cabinet meeting in Prague, saying he would negotiate President Vaclav Klaus’s call for a new Lisbon Treaty “opt-out” when he met other European Union leaders later this month.
Mr Fischer, who has been summoned to Brussels on Tuesday to explain the Czech position, was forced to admit that he was unsure whether Mr Klaus would sign the EU Treaty, even if his demand was met.“The government would like to have clear and sound guarantees from the side of the head of state that this is actually the last step from his side and no other additional conditions will be added,” he said.
The preferred EU option is to offer the Czech Republic “legal guarantees” such as those that were given to Ireland, before the country held its second, successful referendum on the treaty earlier this month.
This route would prevent any need to re-ratify in all 27 EU member states and would allow the Lisbon Treaty to enter into force next year.
But Ladislav Jakl, Mr Klaus’s spokesman, has ruled out this method “as an absolutely impossible way forward”.
“The guarantees given to Ireland are not guarantees. They were a political declaration in a style such that the Irish wolf filled its stomach and the Lisbon goat remained whole,” he told the Lidové Noviny newspaper.
Any demand from the Mr Klaus for reopening of the Lisbon Treaty text to insert an “opt-out” would be refused by the other EU countries.
Posted on October 12, 2009 by kentekeroth