Ireland has cleared it, now the pressure is on the Czech Republic to finish ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer will be in Brussels this Wednesday for talks with senior EU officials.
The Czech government is willing, but before the Lisbon Treaty can supercede the Nice Treaty, it needs the signature of Czech eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus. Klaus has consistently objected to Lisbon and now that the Irish have approved it wants to wait till the constitutional court in Prague rules on an eleventh hour challenge to it. That could stall till the British Conservatives mount their own challenge to the treaty. Klaus not signing could strip the Czechs of representation in the European Commission, but this analyst Piotr Kaczynski, with the Centre for European Policy Studies, sounded optimistic: “It seems as we are manoeuvering around this topic of Czech ratification to look for exit strategy for President Klaus, a situation where he can sign and save face.” Another hold-out, Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski, promised to sign the treaty if Ireland cleared it. Word from Warsaw is he looks set to do that within days. Complete ratification would allow the EU to start operating under the new rules from this coming January.