The Czech Republic court decision that could clear the way for the last signature on the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty for institutional reform is due this Tuesday.
President Vaclav Klaus has the opt-out he demanded as his condition for signing. So, if the court sees no conflict with the treaty, he has said he will have ‘no further requests’. The treaty is designed to give Europe stronger leadership and a fairer decision-making system. It creates a full-time president of the European Council, to serve for two-and-a-half to five years, replacing the six-month rotational system. And there is to be a powerful new foreign policy chief. The Czech Republic will be the last country to complete ratification. Klaus wanted the opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, saying it would shield the Czech Republic from property claims from ethnic Germans who were expelled from then Czechoslovakia after World War Two. Right up to the last, fellow-eurosceptics supported his resistance to signing. He happens to be leaving for a working visit to the US on the day of the court’s decision. Still, at least one other head of state was certain after the EU leaders granted the opt-out last Friday that the treaty will go into force this December 1.