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Treaty clears Czech hurdle

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Treaty clears Czech hurdle

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The Czech senate has put the bounce back in the Lisbon Treaty. The members of the upper house of parliament in Prague voted 54-20 in favour of ratifying the European Union’s reform tract.

The lower house approved it in February, amid doubts over whether it was compatible with the Czech constitution. Success in the senate hinged on support from the conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS) led by Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. He was not very enthusiastic but backed the treaty on the grounds that not doing so would have marginalised his country in Europe. EU enlargement from 15 to 27 members since 2004 called for a new institutional manual. It is meant to help overcome stalemates in decision-making. For it to take effect, all the members have to ratify it. President Vaclav Klaus is required to sign it but has not said when he will do that. He says the treaty picks at national sovereignty and is a step towards a European superstate. Some senators have said they will send the treaty back to the constitutional court.