Czech leader raises new treaty obstacle, says Sweden

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has raised a further obstacle to ratifying the Lisbon Treaty on EU reform, telling Sweden, the EU’s current president, he wants a “footnote” relating to the treaty’s charter of fundamental rights.


REUTERS - Czech President Vaclav Klaus raised a new obstacle to ratifying the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty on Thursday, telling EU president Sweden he wants a footnote added to the document before signing it into force.

Only the Czech and Polish presidents' signatures are needed to complete ratification of the treaty to give the 27-nation EU greater sway in world affairs by appointing a full-time president and foreign minister and streamline decision-making.

"I spoke by phone today with President Klaus ... In order to sign the treaty, Klaus asked for a footnote of two sentences added relating to the charter of fundamental rights," Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told Reuters by telephone.

"He said he wants this adopted by the council (of EU leaders). I told him this is the wrong message at the wrong time for the EU. I told him clearly it is his ink on the paper that counts and I don't want this to delay the treaty going through as soon as possible."

Reinfeldt said the Czech president told him he would sign the treaty if he received the additional wording and the Czech Constitutional Court rejects a legal challenge filed by a group of senators on the treaty.

But Reinfeldt added that Klaus did not provide any details of the extra wording he wants added to the treaty.

"We need clarification on exactly what he (Klaus) is asking for. But he said we must await the constitutional court process first then he will clarify. But he is asking for additional measures, so he should clarify that and that's what I told him," Reinfeldt said.

"As I understand, it's linked to the charter of fundamental rights. It's a footnote, but he didn't define it."

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