Klaus: EU leaders “stupid” to say Ireland deal does not change Lisbon treaty

It is “stupidity” on the part of EU leaders to suggest guarantees given to Ireland do not represent a change to the Lisbon treaty, says the Eurosceptic Czech president, Václav Klaus. An agreement reached on Friday aimed at helping the Irish government win support for Lisbon in a second referendum does not affect the ratification of the document in other states. However, Mr Klaus told Czech Radio that a schoolchild would know the guarantees for Ireland do actually change Lisbon.

The Czech president, a fierce opponent of further European integration, said before the Brussels summit that the agreement with Ireland should be approved by the Czech Parliament because it changes the character of the Lisbon treaty. The Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, disagreed, saying it was a “government type” international treaty and therefore did not need parliamentary ratification.

Both houses of the Czech parliament have voted to ratify the EU’s reform treaty. However, Mr Klaus is currently refusing to put his signature to ratification. He is waiting for the result of a legal challenge taken by Eurosceptic Czech senators, and also says he will not sign as long as Ireland hasn’t approved Lisbon.

Author: Ian Willoughby