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Czech court paves way for Lisbon Treaty ratification

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-11-26

A Czech court has ruled that the Lisbon Treaty conforms with Czech law and parliament can proceed with ratification. If approved by all member states, the treaty will limit national powers and create a permanent EU president and foreign minister.

BRNO - The Czech Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that the European Union's reform treaty conforms with the Czech law, allowing parliament to proceed with ratification.

If approved by all EU member states, the Lisbon Treaty will limit individual EU members' powers in some decisions, and give the union a permanent president and a beefed-up foreign representative.

The lack of Czech ratification so far has raised doubts in the EU about the likely performance of the 6-month Czech EU presidency, starting in January.

The court's finding that the treaty does not infringe the Czech constitution is a big step forward in the ratification process, but does not guarantee smooth approval in both houses of parliament.

The treaty faces opposition from some government backbenchers, cheered on by the eurosceptic president Vaclav Klaus, who rejects any transfer of national powers to the EU.

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who also dislikes the treaty but grudgingly backs it as a price worth paying for EU membership, has said ratification is unlikely to be completed before the year's end.

Topolanek has said some of his party's deputies may refuse to support Lisbon unless the leftist opposition backs plans to build a U.S. anti-missile defence radar southeast of Prague.

Ireland is the only member state that has rejected the document -- in a referendum earlier this year.

Date created : 2008-11-26

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