Czech PM welcomes new referendum in Ireland

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has welcomed the decision of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to hold another referendum on the Lisbon treaty after the Irish "no" in June. Speaking to reporters on Sunday Mr.Topolánek nevertheless pointed out that neither France nor the Netherlands were pushed to take the same step after they rejected the draft European constitution in referenda in 2005. It is apparent that even within the EU there are equal and more equal countries, the Czech prime minister noted.

Speaking at the weekend conference of the Civic Democratic Party at which he was re-elected chairman Mr. Topolánek urged party members to support the Lisbon treaty despite the fact that it was imperfect, because, he said, no positive changes in Europe were possible without it. The lower house of Parliament is to debate the treaty at an extraordinary session on Tuesday.