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Friday, October 23, 2009

Czech president says EU proposal satisfies demands for Lisbon Treaty opt-out clause
Sarah Paulsworth at 1:13 PM ET

[JURIST] The office of Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus [official website, in Czech] issued a brief statement [text, in Czech] Friday indicating that a proposal from the Swedish presidency of the EU [official website] satisfies demands Klaus has made for an opt-out on the bloc's Treaty of Lisbon [EU materials; JURIST news archive]. Klaus is seeking an opt-out clause that would shield his country from property claims by ethnic Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. The two-sentence statement provides no details about what the EU has proposed. President of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minster Fredrik Reinfeldt [official website] indicated details of the opt-out clause will be finalized during an EU summit next week in Brussels, saying [statement], "I welcome the statement by President Klaus. The Presidency will continue to work with this in view of next week's European [Summit].”

The Czech Republic has remained the lone holdout in the Lisbon Treaty ratification process, since Ireland’s ratification [JURIST report] last week. All 27 EU members must ratify by the treaty before it goes into effect. Poland and Britain already have opt-out clauses. The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court [official website; Czech] is scheduled to conduct a public hearing [JURIST report] on October 27 on challenges to the country's signing of the treaty. EU Commission President 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.

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