France to push Prague to ratify Lisbon Treaty during EU presidency

The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, says France will work hard to persuade the Czech Republic to ratify the Lisbon Treaty during his country’s presidency of the EU, the Czech newspaper Lidové noviny reported. Mr Kouchner said Prague would have to be persuaded to ratify the document, and reiterated France’s position that the failure of Lisbon would mean an end to further EU enlargement, a policy the Czech Republic supports. An unnamed French government source quoted by the daily asked how Prague could lead the EU during its presidency next year if it blocks the rest of the union. The Czech Parliament will not vote on whether to ratify the Lisbon Treaty until the country’s Constitutional Court answers a Senate request to consider whether it is in line with the Czech constitution; that ruling is expected towards the end of the year. The future of Lisbon was called into doubt after voters in Ireland rejected it in a referendum.

Meanwhile, France began its six-month EU presidency by opening its labour market to workers from the 10 countries, including the Czech Republic, which joined the bloc four years ago.

Author: Ian Willoughby