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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Czech court to hold public hearing on challenges to EU reform treaty
Jay Carmella at 2:26 PM ET

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic [official website, in Czech] announced Tuesday that it will hold a public hearing on October 27 regarding a challenge to the country's signing of the European Union (EU) reform treaty, known as the Treaty of Lisbon [EU materials; JURIST news archive]. The court will hear arguments [Ceske report] against the treaty from various government representatives, including President Vaclav Klaus [official website, in Czech]. In addition, a group of 17 Czech senators announced on Tuesday that their legal challenge [Xinhua report] will involve whether the treaty violates the Constitution of the Czech Republic [text]. As the last remaining country to ratify the treaty, the Czech Republic is receiving pressure from the remainder of the European Union. EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso [official website] urged [press release] the Czech Republic to sign the treaty and not raise artificial objections, saying it would be "completely absurd" to reopen the ratification process in the other member states.

Efforts to ratify [JURIST news archive] the treaty in all of the 27 member countries required for approval have met some obstacles. The treaty was finally approved by Poland and Ireland [JURIST reports] earlier in the month, after certain guarantees were made by the EU. Germany signed [JURIST report] the treaty last month. In March, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic [official website] voted to approve [JURIST report] the treaty, but Klaus refused to ratify the document. The Czech Republic's Chamber of Deputies [official website] approved [JURIST report] the treaty in February.

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