Seventeen Czech senators close to the country’s Eurosceptic president Václav Klaus yesterday (29 September) filed a second complaint against the Lisbon Treaty with the Constitutional Court in Prague, putting on hold its ratification.
This time, the right-wing senators are challenging the constitutionality of the Lisbon Treaty in its entirety, and not just selected parts, EURACTIV Czech Republic reported.
It could take up to six months for the Constitutional Court to issue its verdict (see EURACTIV 18/09/09). This timing apparently suit the designs of Václav Klaus to delay ratification until new elections in the UK and the potential coming to power of the Tories, who said they will put the treaty to a referendum if it has not been ratified by then.
Czech Minister for European Affairs Štefan Füle played down the new development, saying that such a step would help to end all doubts as to whether the Lisbon Treaty does or does not conform with the Czech constitution.
Füle added that should the Constitutional Court give a positive verdict, then nothing further should delay the president’s signature.
“If the Constitutional Court finds no contradiction between the Lisbon Treaty and the Czech constitution, then I cannot imagine that a president of a democratic country would ignore not only the opinion of the Czech government, which concluded the Treaty on behalf of the Czech Republic, but also the Constitutional Court and above all the will of the constitutional majority of the parliament members,” Füle told EURACTIV.cz in an interview.
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer admitted that he senses “increasing nervousness from abroad,” adding: “We are trying to solve the situation in a standard way.”
‘Tough measures’ against Klaus
Asked by iHNed.cz if there was some way to force President Klaus to complete ratification, PM Fischer made it plain that tough measures, such as the government filing a complaint against the president for inactivity, were not on the agenda.
“The government prefers negotiation and we will continue negotiating with Mr. President. That is all.”
The Czech press quoted sources according to which the government had consulted legal specialists to investigate ways to force the president to complete ratification. Reportedly, Klaus had not signed an addendum to the treaty on the European Social Charter for four years. If the court upheld the complaint, Klaus would have to sign the Lisbon Treaty, too, the daily Hospodarske noviny wrote.
One of the Senators who lodged the constitutional complaint, senator Ji?í Oberfalzer, told Czech press agency ?TK that if the Constitutional Court were to rule that the EU is heading towards some kind of “superstate”, then a potential future hand-over of national powers would contradict the Czech constitution and therefore the Lisbon Treaty could not be ratified.