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Kubera: Senate will approve Lisbon Treaty

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Jaroslav Kubera (ČTK): Senator Jaroslav Kubera notes that the Lisbon Treaty will not be ratified until the president signs it. That gives the ODS time to file a complaint with the Constitutional Court. (ČTK)Senator Jaroslav Kubera says the ODS could file another complaint with the Constitutional Court against the Lisbon Treaty. (ČTK)

The Senate will most likely approve the Lisbon Treaty in the end, says senator Jaroslav Kubera, who is himself not a great fan of the document. In an interview with the online daily Tý, he also talk about how in case of a cabinet collapse, PM Mirek Topolánek might seek a post in Brussels.

The Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday approved the Lisbon Treaty. Now the document, which the ODS has a problem with, will go to the Senate. The ODS has a majority in the upper chamber, so the fate of the treaty is uncertain. But according to Kubera, there will likely be enough supporters within the ODS to help pass the treaty.

What do you think about the fact that 33 ODS deputies supported the treaty?

I am disappointed. The ODS is playing with fire. The trick is simple. The lower house thinks that it has been able to exert pressure on senators to approve the treaty. Since passing the document in the Senate does not require a constitutional majority, and the votes only take into accounts those senators that are present, it’s enough that some ODS senators remove their voting cards from the system (in other words, they decrease the minimum number of votes required to pass the treaty -Ed’s note), and the treaty will be approved. The game has begun. There are some who are willing to do this if promised something in exchange.

The Communists are also against the treaty. Will you negotiate with them?

I have not idea what the Communists are doing in the Senate. We will talk with them, even though their reasons for not supporting the treaty our different. Their idea about a referendum is naive. The treaty is such that voting on it in a referendum is practically impossible. A referendum requires a simple question. And you can’t do that in this case.

How much of a problem is approving the Lisbon Treaty for the ODS?

Some deputies and senators consider it to be a very important issue. I even think it is the most important issue that I have come across in my political career. It can have an impact on the senators’ ODS group, but it will certainly not be as dramatic as in the case of deputies.

Could it mean a definitive loss of a majority in the chamber?

If Jiří Paroubek tires to organise another vote of no confidence, it might happen that disappointed ODS deputies will join in the vote. But it is a matter of time. If we can hold out a little longer, then early elections will not be necessary, because in 2010, we will have the regular elections.

Could this mean that Mirek Topolánek would be the next European commissioner?

Already Bohumil Hrabal said that everything is simultaneously possible and impossible. He has evidently begun to enjoy international politics. Being a European commissioner is not a bad job. Vladimír Špidla could speak on that matter. For CZK500,000 he does a job for which he is not criticised. It is a great temptation, but at the same time, Topolánek has his own obligations at home. It will depend on how he will decide and what will happen in Czech politics.

Wasn’t it be bad luck for the ODS that it took over the government at a time when the prime minister was signing an agreement on the Czech Republic’s obligations to the EU?

It was especially bad for the ODS that it took over the government just when the economic crisis was starting. Topolánek’s signature has about as much weight as when you sign to accept a delivered package. It does not bind us to accept the Lisbon Treaty. The treaty will not be ratified until it is signed by the president. This gives us time to file another complaint with the constitutional court. Besides that there is also the German Constitutional Court which is evaluating the treaty right now.

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