Prague Problem for Lisbon Treaty
Deaglán de Bréadún
With all the economic problems that exist, the last thing Brussels wanted was another question-mark over the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The imminent collapse of the Czech Government has created further uncertainty.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus looks (pronounced “Vaslav” not “Vaklav”) set to become the key figure in his country’s administration and its current European presidency. An out-and-out Eurosceptic he will not be seeking to facilitate the majority EU leadership in its efforts to bring the Treaty process to a conclusion.
In a sense it takes the pressure off Ireland because we will not be the only ones seen as holding-up the ratification process. Even if the Treaty is ratified at parliamentary level, President Klaus has said he will not sign it into Czech law until Ireland has completed its second referendum (I am quoting the RTE reports this morning: click here.)
The fact remains that all EU states have to ratify the Treaty before it can come into effect so even if Ireland says “Yes” in a second referendum, we may still have to wait for the Czechs to sign off on it.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people who voted No in Ireland last time will now change their mind when the second referendum is called, probably in October. But I woudn’t underestimate the effect of the campaign – not so much the capacity of the No side to win but the potential for key people in the Yes camp to screw it up, which is in large part what happened last June.
See also today’s Irish Times report: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0325/breaking8.htm