Ruling on EU treaty set for next week, Czech court says

The Czech Republic's highest court has said it will adjourn until November 3, delaying its ruling on whether the Lisbon Treaty violates the country's constitution.


REUTERS - The top Czech court said on Tuesday it would deliver a ruling next week on a complaint over the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, extending uncertainty over the bloc’s reform plan.

The treaty aims to give the EU’s nearly 500 million people a bigger say on the world stage by streamlining how it takes decisions and creating the post of a long-term president to speak for it.

The Czech Republic is the only country in the 27-member union not to have ratified the document.

The complaint has been closely watched in EU capitals because it is one of the few remaining obstacles for the treaty to enter force. But a decision will not now be in place before a summit of EU leaders in Brussels later this week.

The Czech Constitutional Court heard the case on Tuesday but adjourned the session until Nov. 3.

“Given that all the closing statements have been delivered, it is very probable (that a verdict will be delivered then),” said Tomas Langasek, secretary-general of the court.

The case was filed by a group of members of the Czech upper house, the Senate, who are loyal to eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus and see the treaty as an infringement of sovereignty.

Most lawyers expect the court to rule that the treaty adheres to the Czech constitution. It has already rejected one challenge against the document made last year.

Such a decision would allow Klaus to sign the treaty and thus complete the ratification process in the Czech Republic and the entire union.

Klaus, however, has also demanded an opt-out from a charter of rights attached to the treaty before he signs, a condition to be discussed by EU leaders at a summit on Thursday and Friday.

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