Czech court endorses EU reform treaty

Author: By Karel Janicek, Associated Press

Today’s decision has removed the last legal hurdle for the treaty and
intensifies pressure on Euro-skeptic President Vaclav Klaus to sign the
document.

Issuing the ruling, court chief judge Pavel Rychetsky said the so-called
Lisbon Treaty “does not violate the constitution.”

Klaus is the last obstacle to the full ratification of the treaty, which is
designed to transform Europe into a more unified and powerful global player.
The charter, which was bogged down in negotiations for almost a decade, has
been ratified by all other 26 EU nations.

Klaus was awaiting the Brno-based court’s ruling before deciding whether to
endorse the treaty.

The court was asked to rule by a group of senators who filed a motion arguing
the treaty is not in line with the constitution. Last year, the court
dismissed a similar complaint.

Failure of the treaty would send the EU into an unprecedented crisis.
Negotiators say its reforms ? creating a new EU president post, giving more
power to the foreign policy chief and streamlining EU decision-making ? are
needed to make the EU more effective.

Last week, EU leaders agreed to his last-minute demand ? an opt-out from the
treaty’s Charter of Fundamental Rights in return for his signing of it.
Klaus said he was not planning to make any further demands.

The Czech leader asked for the option over worries of property claims by
ethnic Germans stripped of their land and expelled after World War II.

But it was considered Klaus had used the demand for the opt-out to try to
scuttle ratification of the treaty, which he opposes. He fears the treaty
would hand over too many national powers to EU institutions in Brussels.

Both houses of the Czech Parliament already have ratified the treaty.

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