Friday, 25 April 2014

TOP 09 to push for Czech signature of EU fiscal compact

24 February 2012

Prague, Feb 23 (CTK) - The pro-European conservative TOP 09 has not pushed through its demand that the Czechs sign the EU fiscal treaty but the party's leader, foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, said yesterday TOP 09 will try to change PM Petr Necas's position even after the forthcoming EU summit.

Apart from Britain and the Czech Republic, all EU states have pledged to sign the fiscal pact aiming at budget discipline and eurozone's stability.

The Czech coalition government is yet to discuss the fiscal pact and agree on the position Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) is to present at the EU summit starting on March 1.

It nevertheless seems that Necas will confirm the Czech refusal to join the fiscal treaty.

The third government party, Public Affairs (VV), supports the ODS's negative stance on the treaty.

Necas is to meet David Cameron on February 29 and the two prime ministers will travel from London to the Brussels summit together.

Schwarzenberg recently said he would not be a part of a Czech government that would lead the country away from the European mainstream. He and Necas had a dispute over the fiscal pact.

The opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) said it is a mistake that Necas has not joined the EU fiscal pact. A petition Yes For Europe, signed by some 300 Czech prominent personalities, called on Necas to change his mind and join the treaty.

Necas said the Czech Republic, which has not yet adopted the euro, can join the treaty later on. He also said Czech citizens should approve it in a referendum since it transfers some national powers to Brussels.

Schwarzenberg told CTK yesterday that the possibility of joining the pact even after the EU summit, though under different conditions, allows for further negotiations on the issue.

Czech state secretary for EU affairs Vojtech Belling said if the cabinet decided to join the fiscal treaty, it would also have to ask President Vaclav Klaus to authorise it to do so.

Belling, from the Necas-controlled Government Office, told a parliamentary committee yesterday that there would not be enough time for this before the summit.

Eurosceptic Klaus strongly opposes the treaty. He said earlier he would not add his signature under it. Klaus's presidential mandate will expire in early 2013, however.

Belling said the Government Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Government Legislative Council are examining the treaty's impact on Czech legislation after the possible future adoption of the euro.

He said Necas did not refuse to join the treaty at the latest EU summit but he only refused to promise to sign it next week.

Belling said the unofficial Czech version of the fiscal treaty is posted on the government's website.

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