In Prague, with gas, Gaza and global economic crises in full gallop, European senior officials presented a calm and collected air… The European Commission has been paying the customary visit to the country just entering its six-months as EU president. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and his cabinet welcomed Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his team.
The Czech Republic is the first ex-Warsaw Pact country to hold the EU’s rotating presidency. Barroso pressed the point to the avowedly eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus that the Czechs are the last people in the EU to vote on the Lisbon Treaty. Barroso said: “When a country signs a Treaty it means that it is creating an obligation to ratify, that is what we expect from the Czech Republic that has signed the Lisbon Treaty.” Klaus said: “But I hope that Mr. Barroso will come here more often, and I will convert him and he will be, I hope very soon, on my side in this debate on the Lisbon Treaty. So that is my dream and my hope for the future.” The Czech parliament is expected to debate the treaty in February. Also, the government has to oversee the drafting of assurances for Ireland so it can hold a second referendum on the charter.