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Sarkozy's protectionism jeopardizes Lisbon treaty, says Topolanek

Latest update : 2009-02-09

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said French President Nicolas Sarkozy's "incredible" proposal to "re-localise" French carmakers' foreign units was the best way to jeopardize the ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

AFP - Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to "re-localise" French carmakers' foreign units was a threat to the ratification of the EU's reforming Lisbon Treaty.

"If someone wanted to really jeopardise the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, he could not have chosen a better way and a better time," Topolanek told the Hospodarske noviny daily in an interview posted on its website Sunday.

"I don't want to scaremonger, I will vote in favour of Lisbon, but here is a big country taking decisions on what will affect our lives," he said.

"What Nicolas Sarkozy said was incredible," said Topolanek in the interview to be published in the newspaper on Monday.

The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, is home to a joint venture between France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Toyota, based 60 kilometres (37 miles) east of Prague, which turned out 324,000 cars in 2008.

It is also the only EU member that has not held a parliamentary vote or referendum on the treaty designed to streamline decision-making in the 27-nation bloc.

Its opponents, led by staunchly eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus, often argue the country may lose its sovereignty under the treaty.

The Czech parliament's lower house has put off its vote on the Lisbon Treaty until February 17.

Speaking on French television last Thursday, Sarkozy proposed to "stop the de-localisation and, if possible, to re-localise" car plants run by French producers in a bid to boost employment in an economic downturn.

"If you build a Renault plant in India to sell Renaults to Indians, that's justified, but if you build a factory, without saying the company's name, in the Czech Republic to sell cars in France, that's not justified," Sarkozy said.

Date created : 2009-02-09