The lower house of the Czech parliament has approved the EU Lisbon Treaty – a major but not final step towards ratification.
The lower chamber voted by 125 to 61 votes to adopt the document, which must now go before the parliament’s upper house. Right-wing opposition in the senate could leave the treaty in limbo. Even then, eurosceptic president Vaclav Klaus has said he will wait as long as possible before he signs it into law. Both he and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek are sharing tasks in the Czech Republic’s presidency of the EU until July. Opponents say it will shift the balance of power toward bigger EU countries and infringe on Czech sovereignty. But, polls suggest 64 percent of Czechs favour the treaty, which aims to reform and make the EU’s institutions more flexible.