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Prague's lumbering Lisbon Treaty debate

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Prague's lumbering Lisbon Treaty debate

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The Czechs will not be rushed to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. The lower chamber of parliament in Prague has at last begun its debate on the reform text.

In principle this makes possible its approval by next week. But the senate debate’s postponement until April could keep ratification in limbo. Even then, eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus has said he will wait as long as possible before he signs it into law, and that could be after the Irish have said yes to Lisbon in a second referendum. Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek are sharing tasks in the Czech Republic’s presidency of the EU until July. Klaus is scheduled to address the European Parliament this Thursday. Opponents of the treaty say it would shift the balance of power toward bigger EU countries and infringe Czech sovereignty. Twenty-four states have ratified it. To take effect, every one has to.