Thursday, 24 April 2014

Klaus refuses to sign addendum to Lisbon Treaty

ČTK |
10 December 2012

Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus will not sign the addendum to the Lisbon Treaty concerning the creation of the euro zone's new rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus said at a meeting with managers organised by weekly Euro Friday.

"I consider these ramparts a monstrous and outrageous thing and I will not sign them," Klaus said.

Klaus's decision should not, however, have a direct impact on the activity of the fund, which has been operating since this autumn already.

The Czech Republic does not have to ratify the ESM treaty. It is an international agreement signed by all 17 countries of the euro zone and is in effect since the end of September, European Commission spokesman Simon O'Connor said in reaction.

Klaus's signature concerns a change in Article 136 of the Lisbon Treaty, which is a provision confirming the power of countries to sign international treaties. It does not, however, delegate any powers, so it was possible to launch the mechanism before the ratification of this article is completed.

The Czech Republic is the last EU Member State that has not completed the ratification process.

O'Connor refused to comment on Klaus's words. He only said the completion of the ratifiction of the relevant Article, which just clarifies the legal framework concerning the ESM Treaty, has no impacts on the operation of the ESM.

The ESM Treaty has already taken effect and the fund is working fully, O'Connor said.

"I consider Klaus's step useless," Prime Minister Petr Necas told journalists.

The addendum to the Lisbon Treaty does not concern the Czech Republic nor does it bind it to anything. "We are only complicating the situation of our partners in the euro zone by this step," Necas said.

"The President has sent a clear signal on his attitude towards the European integration efforts and to the euro zone as such," Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said.

According to Kalousek, Klaus's step does not improve the Czech Republic's negotiating position in the EU. On the other hand, the Czech Republic's partners have already got used to similar statements, Kalousek added.

According to Ceska sporitelna analyst Jan Jedlicka, the blocking of ratification of the addendum to the Lisbon Treaty will have an impact on the Czech Republic's credibility. "The Government, the Parliament and the President are not pulling at the same end of the rope. This is particularly unfortunate in a period when the EU's future budget for the years 2014 and 2020 is being negotiated," Jedlicka said.

On Thursday, the Senate called on Klaus to sign the addendum.

"As the Constitutional Court has stated, the President of the Republic is obliged to ratify an international treaty without unnecessary delay after both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approve it," the Senate's European committee head Miroslav Krejca said earlier.

Senate chairman Milan Stech told CTK Friday he had not received any reaction from Klaus yet. On Thursday he indicated the Senate might turn to the Constitutional Court.

"I think he (Klaus) has the duty to sign it. But he does not probably think so," Jan Kysela, a lawyer and expert in constitutional law, told CTK.

According to Kysela, the problem is that the Lisbon Treaty is not a typical international agreement. It if was, the President would be bound by the verdict of the Constitutional Court under which he is obliged to ratify the agreement immediately after it is given a green light by both chambers of the Parliament.

The ESM, replacing the rescue fund EFSF, should be able to lend up to EUR500bn (roughly Kc12,400bn) to indebted euro-zone countries.

The Czech Republic should have no financial obligations in connection with the new fund until it adopts the euro.

Klaus also said at the meeting with managers Friday that the solution to the current economic situation and the continuing crisis cannot be fast.

Any proposals to improve the situation will be a process that will take several years. In addition, it has to be a political process, not the result of work of some experts groups, Klaus said.

The basic character of the economic situation in the Czech Republic and Europe has not changed over the past year. "If it changed, then it was a change for the worse. Negative tendencies continue," Klaus said.

Besides the economic crisis, there is also a political crisis and a crisis of people's prospects, outlooks and hopes both in the Czech Republic and the EU, Klaus said.

"To reduce this to a debt crisis of just several countries or to the concept of the single European currency means not to understand the depth and width of Friday's European problem," Klaus said.

In addition, EU representatives live in the illusion that no crisis exists, Klaus added.

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