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Klaus seeks WWII-linked opt-out from Lisbon Treaty

brussels bureau

Klaus seeks WWII-linked opt-out from Lisbon Treaty


Czech President Vaclav Klaus wants guarantees in the EU’s Lisbon reform Treaty to protect his country from post-war property claims. This emerged from a meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, aimed at encouraging the eurosceptic Klaus to sign.

He would be the last head of state to seal the treaty’s ratification after Poland’s president signs it into law on Saturday. In Prague, Klaus sought an exemption from the Charter of Fundamental rights, as Poland and the UK negotiated for themselves. London’s opt-out means the European Courts cannot force changes to laws on labour in Britain. Warsaw’s exemption proscribes individual rights such as for homosexual wedlock. Klaus said he feared that claimants of property, confiscated from some 3 million Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II, could circumvent the Czech judicial system under the Lisbon Treaty without an exemption. Buzek made clear that trying to re-open opt-out negotiations now was a bit late in the game. He said: “I am not going to put pressure on the Czech Republic, or on President (Klaus) personally, because it is an independent decision of the Czech Republic, but I also underlined that there are costs for delay, and we must know about the costs for the whole European Union.” The charter covers civil, political, economic and social rights. EU diplomats said only the Czech government could ask the EU’s leaders to alter the treaty with a declaration at a summit this month.

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