President Klaus signs Lisbon treaty

Václav Klaus, photo: CTK
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After months of fierce opposition, Czech President Václav Klaus on Tuesday gave in to mounting pressure and signed the Lisbon treaty, just hours after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that it was fully in line with Czech law. His signature concludes the treaty’s full ratification by the EU, opening the way to extensive reforms within the 27-member alliance.

Czech President Václav Klaus on Tuesday became the European Union's last head of state to sign the Lisbon treaty. He did so with gritted teeth and much against his better judgment, saying that the Czech Republic would lose its sovereignty as a result. At a press briefing after the signing – of which there was no advance warning – Mr. Klaus accused the Constitutional Court of having issued a political verdict on the treaty but said it was a ruling he was going to respect.

Václav Klaus, photo: CTK
The treaty’s signing surprised not only EU leaders in Brussels but the entire Czech Republic. Commentators conclude that as an experienced politician Václav Klaus knew when he’d lost and after Tuesday’s court ruling it was obvious he would be standing alone against all of Europe, the Czech Republic included.

The news was immediately hailed by EC commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso who told newsmen in Washington that “the road to Lisbon was a marathon of hurdles but now the last of those hurdles had been removed”. In the Czech Republic Prime Minister Fisher lost no time in counter-signing the treaty, thus completing its full ratification by the Czech Republic and the whole of the EU.