President slams government for “hiding behind referendum”

President Vaclav Klaus has slammed the government for failing to accept political responsibility for a decision on whether the country should join the EU’s fiscal union. In an interview for Friday’s daily Lidové noviny Mr. Klaus said the government should make a clear decision one way or another and not hide behind a referendum. He was alluding to Wednesday’s government vote which provisionally endorsed a national referendum on the issue. However not all coalition parties voted in favour of leaving the decision in the hands of the electorate. TOP 09 said the matter was “too complex” to be decided by the public, arguing in favour of its ratification in Parliament. The President also addressed the question of whether the government would need his authorization to sign up to the international treaty. Mr. Klaus said that the prime minister was empowered to sign treaties of this type, but that his signature was not tantamount to a ratification by the head of state, which he was determined to withhold.