The Lisbon wildcard

As pressure mounts on Irish PM Brian Cowen to announce the seemingly inevitable 2nd referendum to ratify the EU Treaty of Lisbon, the Czech ratification is still not resolved and looks set to shake up Czech politics no matter what happens.   ODS (Civic Democratic Party) is having their congress this weekend, which includes a leadership election pitting PM Mirek Topolanek as heavy favourite to be reelected despite poor regional election results. His opponent is Prague Mayor Pavel Bem — a Eurosceptic.  And Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the Eurosceptic-in-chief, has resigned his honourary chairmanship of ODS.  Thus the seeds of a split are being sown.  This follows what apparently was a circus of a meeting between Klaus and a group of MEPs yesterday, in which Klaus’s de facto alliance with Irish anti-Lisbon group Libertas was a major issue.

No doubt many of the key players have their eye on next year’s European Parliament elections. The most likely scenario is that quite soon, the Czech Republic will have ratified the treaty without Klaus’s signature, Ireland will be promising a 2nd referendum in Autumn 2009, and there will be an alliance of seemingly fringe parties trying to convert this into a pan-European platform in time for June.  All in the context of a very deep recession.  We indeed live in interesting times.

3 thoughts on “The Lisbon wildcard

  1. Czech ratification will probably end their status as the Eurosceptic Happy Hunting Ground; anyone remember Iain Duncan Smith’s broadcast from the top of Prague Castle? Thought not…

  2. Mr. Klaus can be a eurosceptic poster boy, but as President of the Czech Republic he has no power and only limited influence, much of it into the ODS party.

    The Foreign Minister, Schwartzenberg, would be the europhile poster boy, with the Prime Minister and Europe Minister in the middle. Mr Klaus may make most of the noise when the Czech EU Presidency starts, but it is the latter three that are going to do the work.

    The Czech Republic isn’t particularly eurosceptic or europhile, like in most things they find themselves near the EU average.

    Though you never know with Czech politics it would be a huge surprise if the treaty wasn’t ratified, a going rumour that it may be part of a deal to ratify both Lisbon and the US radar.

  3. I think Mr. Klaus is an egoist who likes to call attention from the world press with his strange views on climate view and not ratifying the Lisbon Treaty or the ICC Treaty. I guess it would be clever to wait till his term lapses. He is not too important to be infringed but I do not think he represents his country in anyway. What he is doing on the international scene is clearly not of the interest of his republic but only his own.

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