The Czechs are keeping their options open on their participation in the Lisbon Treaty.
After the Irish rejection of the pact, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, leading calls for the ratification process to go on, took his case to the Czechs.
Though Prague prepared a red carpet welcome, the message for the guest of honour was ‘slowly-slowly’.
Sarkozy said: “If there’s one country that can understand the Czech Republic, it’s France — which said ‘No’ (to the EU draft constitution) in 2005. Let’s not be hasty. Let’s not dramatise. Let’s try to find the best path to bring back unity to the European family.”
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said: “In fact, it’s not a question of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For us here, the debate is whether it’s possible, or even legitimate, to pursue the ratification process. Happily, it’s not up to us to resolve the problem, since it has been suspended by (our) Constitutional Court.”
Sarkozy was also meeting the prime ministers of Slovakia, Hungary and Poland at a summit of the four central European EU states in Prague — the Visegrad Group.
After the French EU presidency from July to December, it will be the Czechs’ turn.