The Treaty of Lisbon Verdict

The Czech Constitutional Court has just decided that the Treaty of Lisbon does not collide with the Czech constitution. That means it can be ratified either by parliament, or by referendum. The latter option is not very likely at this moment, since all the major political actors, except the Communists, are in favour of the parliamentary way.

The court is seated in Brno. The justices are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate, for a minimum ten-year term. That means the current Court is not full of Klaus’s people, although he nominated quite a few of today’s justices. Actually it’s not the point, the justices are not to be chosen for their political affiliation and President Klaus knows that well enough. It’s supposed to be independent, and it can be said it is. The truth is the court gives verdicts that contradict the president’s opinions, notably in the case of Judr. Brozova, head of the Supreme Court. She was in a dispute with the president over his interventions into the Supreme Court and she won the case, which led Klaus into statements about “judiciocracy”. No surprise for those of us who know our president long enough: many of his opponents, critical journalists or activists were already labelled as a “danger to democracy”.

The court was asked by some ODS senators to examine the Treaty of Lisbon. The senators expressed their doubts about some of the treaty´s features, yet some of them are simply known to be anti- EU. Some suspect the senators of merely delaying the process of ratification. Unlike the government, they are more bound to the president than a wish for efficient cooperation with the EU member states. President Klaus seems increasingly unhappy with Czech EU membership and has recently called himself a dissident in the Union. It seems a bit awkward to call yourself a dissident while being a president of a republic, unrestricted in any way and with daily possibility to fill the media with your comments.

At the court the president and the government were on opposite sides. No wonder. The government needs to get things done. The CR will chair the European Council next year and it would be nice if it would ratify the treaty until the end of the chairmanship. The president, it seems, has a different agenda. He doesn´t like the union and so acts like anyone else: he keeps saying what he thinks. There is a minor problem: his presidency is not about saying anything he thinks or feels, he is supposed to be a statesman. He should take the government (led by his party) and the Czech interests within the EU into account before sending the whole Union to hell.

His views will not do him harm in the CR, where the population is not too excited about the Union, but they do harm him abroad and they probably do harm us. Many of the views are not shared even by the right-wing parties or journalists. Last month he endorsed the Irish anti- EU campaigner Declan Ganley, while on a state visit, invited by the government he thus turned his back on. This event was not far from a diplomatic scandal.

The Czech EU presidency is just around the corner. Who knows what will happen next, with such unpredictable actors involved.

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