A report in the British newspaper The Sunday Times said that French and
German diplomats discussed ways of overcoming President Václav Klaus’
last minute obstruction of the Lisbon Treaty. The paper said they raised
the possibility of impeaching him or making constitutional changes to
remove his veto rights in talks with Czech colleagues. Former Czech prime
minister and Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek has said in interviews
that he has tried to convince other European leaders not to take
retaliatory steps against the Czech Republic over its failure to ratify the
EU reforming treaty since these would be counterproductive.
The Czech Republic is the last country to ratify Lisbon after Polish President Lech Kaczynski took the step on Saturday. President Klaus announced on Friday that he wanted a footnote inserted in the treaty guaranteeing that it could not be used by Germans expelled after WWII to reclaim property and challenge the so-called Beneš decrees. The President’s last minute demand does not have the support of the government and has been denounced by most politicians at home.
The Czech football team has to hope for a miracle to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after Saturday’s results. Although the Czechs beat Poland 2:0 at home, the hoped for victory of table-topping Slovakia over Slovenia failed to happen. Slovenia won 2:0. That leaves the Czechs needing to beat Northern Ireland in the last qualification match on Wednesday and hope that minnows San Marino can at least earn a draw with Slovenia. That scenario would give the Czechs a second place play-off spot.
Garbage Warrior, a documentary by British film maker Oliver Hodge was
given the main award at the Ekofilm festival at Český Krumlov on
Saturday. The 90-minute documentary follows the real life battle of
maverick US architect Michael Reynolds to build environmently friendly
homes out of everyday waste. The head of the award jury, Alena
Činčerová, described the film as in many respects a breakthrough.
Around three-fifth of Czechs have witnessed corruption: survey
Around 60 percent of Czechs say they have witnessed corruption according to a survey carried out by the SANEP institute. Thirty-eight percent said they had offered bribes and a fifth said they had accepted them. Around three-quarters of respondents said that a new law limiting the activities of lobbyists should come into effect. The survey was carried out between October 1 and 5 with 12,330 people responding to questions on the Internet.
Violence erupted outside the stadium ahead of the Czech-Poland football World Cup qualifier on Saturday night. Trouble apparently began when Polish fans without tickets tried to get past stewards and storm in. Mounted police, police with dogs and a special action squad were called in to restore order. Police detained 18 fans of which three were charged. Around 3,000-4000 Polish fans are thought to have come to Prague for the game. The number of police and stewards was doubled because of Polish fans reputation for violence at away matches. Police said the return home seemed to have passed without major problems.
President Klaus’ secretary Ladislav Jakl said in tv interviews on Sunday
that members of the former centre-right coalition government knew about his
reservations about the Lisbon Treaty and its Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Mr Jakl said the reservations were pointed out to the government of former
prime minister Mirek Topolánek but negotiations over changes to the treaty
were blocked by Green Party government members Karel Schwarzenberg and
Former European Affairs minister Alexandr Vondra said on the same programmes that he heard of the president’s specific worries for the first time when they were raised on Friday. Leaders of the right of centre Civic Democrats have criticised President Klaus for not stating his objections earlier.
Czech manager and head of the Czech and Moravian Football Federation, Ivan Hašek announced on Sunday that he would make his future clear as national coach after Wednesday’s game against Northern Ireland. He only took on the post of team manager in the summer after talks with other candidates broke down and had always stressed it was a temporary solution. At that stage, the World Cup qualification chances of the Czech team were already pretty long. Hašek said on Sunday that he already had some idea what could follow after Wednesday’s final qualification match.
An on the loose baboon has been returned to its enclosure at Brno zoo. The male baboon Heiko escaped on Thursday after scaling an electric fence. He was apparently panicked by the sight of a rifle which was going to be used to tranquilise a sheep which shared the enclosure. The escapee was eventually found on Saturday hiding in the zoo grounds. It is the second escape by the baboon. Heiko took advantage of a power cut to escape in 2007 and was only found two days later sharing a packet of biscuits with a golfer at a local course.
Inhabitants of the South Bohemian village of Okroulé Radouň voted against being the site for a nuclear waste store on Saturday. Just under 60 percent of inhabitants voted in the local referendum with 93 percent of them opposing the plans. The latest vote means that 27 councils out of 36 in the six regions shortlisted for a waste store have come out against the idea. Local leaders admitted after the vote that the referendum was not binding on the authority charged with storing waste. But they said that a government decision should not overturn local opposition.
In other reactions, Civic Democrat leaders have suggested that President
Klaus’ demands could be dealt with after the Lisbon Treaty comes into
effect. The party said in a statement that the guarantees he is seeking
could be given when an agreement is sealed with Croatia on its entry into
the European Union. Such guarantees would have the character of a
clarification of the treaty and not an amendment, which would require fresh
clearance from national parliaments and heads of state. Clarifications were
used to give the Irish guarantees about their tax system and neutrality.
Meanwhile, the Social Democrats said they had a certain understanding for President Klaus’ demands. But Christian Democrat leader Cyril Svoboda attacked his stand describing it as obstruction based on the opinion of one man which flew in the face of parliament’s wishes. The Greens have suggested that President Klaus had overstepped the mark and his removal should be considered.
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