Another hefty tome awaiting the EU leaders’ attentions at their gathering this week is the Lisbon Treaty. It needs ratification to be completed in all the member states. Among the stragglers is the Czech Republic, which takes up the EU’s rotating presidency in January.
Given the nod by the Czech Constitutional Court, the text is now most likely to be voted on by the lower house of parliament in Prague in early February. Like Poland, the Czechs have waited partly to see how Ireland goes about overcoming its referendum veto of the reform treaty.
Diplomats say Ireland’s Prime Minister Brian Cowen will tell his fellow EU leaders at the Thursday-Friday summit in Brussels that he will hold a second referendum on the treaty next year.
Global credit crunch concerns might help get the treaty passed on a second attempt. ut for this, the diplomats say, Cowen will seek assurances that the treaty will not undermine Ireland’s own policies in sensitive areas such as abortion, taxation and military neutrality.
Writing is hard, even for the best wordsmiths. Ernest Hemingway said the most frightening thing he ever encountered was “a blank sheet of paper.” And Winston Churchill called the act of writing a book “a horrible, exhaustive struggle, like a long bout of painful illness.”