Sunday, October 11, 2009
Ireland's "yes" vote last week on the Lisbon Treaty, also known as the European Constitution, paved the way for the remaining European Union (EU) Member States to finalize their support for the treaty. Polish President Lech Kaczynski signed the Lisbon Treaty at a ceremony in Warsaw yesterday. The Polish parliament had approved the treaty over a year ago, but Poland was waiting to see whether Ireland joined before finalizing its ratification.
The Czech Republic still has to finalize its ratification. Czech President Vaclav Klaus stated on Friday that he plans to push for last-minute changes to the Lisbon Treaty at the upcoming 29 October summit. He wants Prague to get an exemption from the Charter of Fundamental Rights on the model of Polish and British opt-outs, which were added to the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 in a special protocol. The opt-out is needed, he added, in order to make sure that German families expelled from the Czech Republic 65 years ago cannot bypass Czech courts and go directly to EU courts to claim their back property. It is unclear if all the other EU Member States would have to agree to any such changes at this point.