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1. 10. 2009 17:09

Klaus urged to sign Lisbon 'without further delay'

EurActiv; Published: Thursday 1 October 2009

If the Czech Constitutional Court finds no contradiction between the Lisbon Treaty and the country's constitution, President Václav Klaus should complete the ratification procedure by signing it without further delay, European Affairs Minister Štefan Füle told in an exclusive interview.

"I am convinced that the president will base his decision upon the Court's ruling as well as the opinion of the parliament, where both chambers voted for the Lisbon Treaty by constitutional majority," Füle said.

The parliamentary part of ratification in the Czech Republic was concluded last May after the reform treaty obtained qualified majority support, that is, more than 60% of all deputies and senators together. However, on 29 September, seventeen Czech senators close to Klaus filed a second complaint against the Lisbon Treaty with the Constitutional Court, putting on hold its ratification (see EurActiv 30/09/09).

According to Füle, the Czech Republic will complete ratification before the end of the year, as promised at the June EU summit (see EurActiv 19/06/09). Three more countries were concerned at that time – Germany, which has since concluded its ratification process, Ireland, which on the same occasion received specific guarantees to increase the chances of success in the crucial referendum which takes place tomorrow, and Poland, where the country's president said he would sign once he was certain that the treaty will indeed enter into force.

According to the June summit's conclusions, the procedure for nominating the commissioners in the next EU executive cannot start before it becomes clear under which EU treaty they will be appointed – the current Nice Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty.

Recently, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told visiting former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek that Prague would lose its commissioner, if the new college had to be elected under Nice. The Nice Treaty provides that the next Commission following the enlargement of the EU to 27 members would consist of fewer commissioners than member states.

Asked if the Czech Republic feared losing its commissioner, Füle said he would not speculate at this stage. He also implied that it would not be easy to deprive the Czech Republic of its commissioner.

"You must also keep in mind that every change in the composition of the Commission should be adopted unanimously by all member states," he added.

To read the interview in full, please click here.

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