Supporters of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty were given cause for celebration on Wednesday morning as the Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty does not violate the Czech Constitution. This landmark ruling paves the way for the Czech parliament to begin the process of ratifying the treaty. The Czech Republic is the only EU member which has not voted on Lisbon, amid a dispute over sovereignty that has pitted the government against president Václav Klaus. But Mr Klaus isn’t giving up yet.
All eyes were on the Czech Constitutional Court on Tuesday, where a verdict was expected on whether the EU’s Lisbon treaty is in line with the Czech constitution. If the court had rejected Lisbon, it could well have thrown the EU into disarray. The opposite verdict would have paved the way for the Czech Parliament to vote on ratification. As it happened, the ruling has been postponed until Wednesday.
One of the key issues of the upcoming Czech EU presidency will be the future of the Lisbon treaty, but the Czech Republic is the only EU country that has yet not voted on the reform document. Six weeks before the Czechs take over, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has moved to deal with his party rivals and get the treaty out of the way.
The Czech government has suspended the issuing of long-term visas for Vietnamese nationals. The reason? The application process in Hanoi seems to be controlled by criminal gangs. What’s more, this move comes just days after a new report suggested Vietnamese citizens here in the Czech Republic were increasingly involved in organised crime.
The Czech president Václav Klaus has caused a diplomatic upset this week on his state visit to Ireland. His Irish hosts didn’t take kindly to comments at a press conference following a private dinner with British-born businessman Declan Ganley, who spearheaded the “No” campaign against the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. Reacting to the criticism, Mr Klaus accused the Irish foreign minister of “hypocrisy”.
A recent Austrian TV production depicting the aftermath of a fictional accident at a Czech nuclear power plant has touched a raw nerve in relations between the two countries, strained over the Czech use of nuclear energy. This time, the fictional movie even made Czech President Václav Klaus pick up the phone to complain to his Austrian counterpart.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, is due to meet George Bush
before he steps down as US president on January 20, the news website
ihned.cz reported. Mr Topolánek cancelled a meeting with the American
president planned for last week due to tensions within his party the Civic
Democrats following poor election results.
The two leaders had been due to discuss the financial crisis and US plans to build a radar base in central Bohemia, as part of a global missile defence system. The rescheduled meeting is expected to take place at the end of this year or in January.
President Václav Klaus makes a three-day state visit to Ireland next week, where he’s to meet his Irish counterpart Mary McAleese and other senior officials. But it’s his plans to attend a private dinner with leading Irish euro-sceptic Declan Ganley that has ruffled feathers, with some Irish politicians complaining that Mr Klaus is meddling in Ireland’s internal affairs. The Czech Republic takes over the revolving presidency of the EU on January 1st, and one of its tasks will be trying to resuscitate the EU’s Lisbon Treaty – rejected by Irish voters
The Czech government and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek in particular have signaled their intention to invite Barack Obama - the new President-elect of the United States - to the Czech Republic in early 2009. The purpose: to attend an informal EU summit to be held in Prague in the spring. The visit would coincide with the Czech Republic’s term presiding over the EU, which begins on January 1. Dominik Jun spoke to political commentator Erik Best and asked him how important a visit by the newly sworn-in President Barack Obama would be:
The whole world was watching on Tuesday night as American voters cast their ballots in one of the most heated US presidential campaigns – including Prague’s American expat community. Several election night parties were held around the city where supporters of both camps stayed up all night, awaiting the results.
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