Hearing on Lisbon treaty’s constitutionality underway

25-11-2008

The Czech Constitutional Court has opened its hearing to determine whether the EU’s Lisbon treaty complies with the country’s own constitution. No decision, however, has been reached after the first day of proceedings, with the session adjourned until Wednesday morning. The Czech Republic, which takes over the EU’s rotating presidency on January 1 next year, is the only member state not to have started the ratification process. On Tuesday morning, Czech President Václav Klaus, a fierce opponent of Lisbon, made a statement in court arguing the document is not in line with Czech law. He urged Czechs not to push through the treaty on the basis of what he called ‘foreign pressure and the short-term interests of several Czech politicians’. On Monday, the Czech president suggested that he would not sign the Lisbon treaty until it had been ratified by Ireland.

The Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra represented the government in Tuesday’s court session; he disagreed with the president, calling the Lisbon treaty an ‘acceptable document’ for Czechs. The court adjourned at around 12:00 CET, with officials saying a decision would be made on Wednesday.