Jan Fischer has got to work picking up the leftovers. The new prime minister of the Czech Republic has been meeting senior officials in Brussels. He needs to allay EU states’ fears about the last six weeks of his country’s shaky run at the rotating EU presidency.
The obstacle of the Lisbon Treaty’s ratification has been somewhat removed by its tardy approval by the Prague senate. But that still leaves eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus to be convinced. Guarantees also need negotiating for the Irish before their second referendum on it this autumn. Fischer said: “Now of course it depends on when the President of the Czech Republic will sign the treaty. In the Czech Constitution there are no deadlines for him. Expressing my personal view: I would very much wish for the Lisbon Treaty and the ratification process to be completed successfully.” As background to this, some Czech senators have announced they will bring another case before their Constitutional Court, challenging the treaty, in two months, by which time the Swedes will hold the presidency. It is Prague’s choice who will chair a European summit in June: Fischer or Klaus. Klaus and Fischer’s predecessor shared a rocky relationship. Both have also tended to plant their personal views centre stage — rather than European consensus-seeking.