Ratification of the European Union’s Lisbon reform treaty by the Czech Republic will be harder with the government having lost the no-confidence vote, says Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra.
At the European Parliament, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made this appeal: “I would like to send a message to the Czech Republic. I would like to urge all political leaders not to use this political crisis in a way to put the Lisbon Treaty as hostage of domestic problems.” The Czechs are among the last to approve Lisbon, and had some difficulty doing so in the lower house of parliament. The Senate had been expected to vote on the treaty next month. Elmar Brok, a German MEP in the conservative group, speculated on its chances: “It might be a possibility that Prime Minister Topolanek has lost the authority to look after a three fifths majority in the Czech Senate which is needed to ratify there, after the ratification was done already in the first chamber. Therefore, there is reason for some scepticism whether he can deliver a majority for ratification.” Evelyne Gebhardt, an MEP in the Socialist group, points out that the treaty’s provision for a long-term EU president is intended to keep the bloc stable even when member governments wobble: “This crisis we have, given the present situation, is a good demonstration of how we need the Lisbon Treaty, for us to have really clear answers, so we and a truly European policy are not at the mercy of Member States’ internal crises.” Lisbon needs to be ratified by all 27 member states to come into force. Prague’s political puzzle adds to doubts. Poland and Ireland also have yet to ratify the treaty, and it still needs a nudge from German constitutional judges.