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18. 6. 2008 10:54

June 17, 2008: Press statement - Prime Minister M. Topolánek on the "Irish NO"

The outcome of the Irish referendum constitutes not only a political complication for the European Union, as I already said before all the votes in the referendum had been counted. It is also an evident challenge for us to unify our views on the key issues of the foreign policy of the Czech Republic. The Irish “NO“ is no less serious than the previous French and Dutch “NO“ votes. That means that regardless of whether the ratification process will continue or not, the Lisbon Treaty will not come into effect. This is a position we have agreed upon with the other Premiers within the framework of the V4 Group.

Lying ahead of us now is the Czech Republic’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will proceed under different conditions than previously expected. Therefore, the Czech presidency will not be limited by institutional changes and will be full-fledged, which, in turn, will lay much greater claims not only on the Czech government coalition but also on the opposition.

At this moment, any domestic political infighting must be set aside. Our common duty is to prevent our political scene and society from being fragmented in its opinions on the problems involving our national interests, the future of the European Union or security. That is why I am inviting the ČSSD Chairman Jiří Paroubek to open a serious discussion on the foreign policy priorities which transcend a single term of office.

At this moment in time, the Czech ratification process is suspended until a decision is reached by the Constitutional Court. That is why we have time for more discussions both at home and within the EU. The European Union has a stable contractual basis which provides for its standard functioning.

Seen in this light, I am rejecting any defeatism, I am rejecting such words as defeat or crisis, in the same way that I reject any efforts to bend the law, or to fail to respect the free decision of the citizens of a free country. At present we are fighting for the future of Europe and the trust of its citizens. Now we are in a position to show, not only at home, but also to the the citizens of in all the member countries of the European Union that we can solve genuine problems in a fundamental way and not any makeshift fashion. To show whether we are capable of searching for unity and, consensus for the benefit of us all or whether we are bent only on our own selfish objectives and visions.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Government of the Czech Republic

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