The Czech Republic’s upper house of parliament is due to vote today on whether to approve the European Union’s Lisbon treaty.
The treaty is intended to streamline decision-making in an elarged EU, yet its opponents say it threatens national sovereignty and reduces small countries’ influence. Ratification could improve the Czechs’ international image, which suffered with the collapse of the centre-right cabinet in March, half way through their turn heading the rotating EU presidency. Prime Minister Jan Fischer will bring that to fruition, taking over from Mirek Topolanek. The Czech Republic is among the last countries to complete the ratification process, with Poland, Germany and Ireland. The treaty must be ratified by all 27 EU states to take effect. The eurosceptic state’s outgoing pro-Lisbon Europe Minister Alexandr Vondra said: “We signed the treaty and a mid-sized country must think four times before it dares to blow it up in parliament.”