European officials are hopeful that an exit strategy may be forming to get out of the Lisbon Treaty impasse. Eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who has held back from signing the reform document’s final ratification, has welcomed a proposal by current European Union presidency Sweden for a compromise to meet his special demand.
Klaus wants an 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. Analyst Piotr Kaczynski, with the Centre for European Policy Studies, said Klaus is out to save face: “I don’t think that President Klaus is winning anything from (this). I think it is a negotiating exit strategy to sign the treaty after all, because he was so fiercely opposed to this treaty, to the contents of the treaty that he could not just change his opinion over night, so he had to negotiate this exit strategy.” The Czech government has been negotiating Klaus’s demands with Sweden, which wants to secure approval for the opt-out at an EU summit in Brussels next week. EU diplomats have said the opt-out could be promised now and added to another treaty. Klaus’s office said it can work with Sweden’s proposal. His decision to sign the treaty also depends on a review by the Czech Constitutional Court. The EU had hoped to discuss key jobs at the summit but needs clear signals from the Czechs.