Klaus criticises attempts to 'change' Lisbon result

 

The president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus has said he is "not happy" with what he said were attempts by the EU "forget the Irish referendum and to change the result" of the Lisbon Treaty.

He also warned against a move towards supranationalism in Europe which he said could impact on freedom and democracy.

The Czech President was speaking at a joint press conference in Dublin tonight with Declan Ganley, the founder of the anti-Lisbon Treaty group Libertas.

Mr Klaus said there would be no question of him joining Libertas but added: "If Mr Ganley wins the European elections I will be the first to congratulate him."

They were speaking ahead of a private dinner in honour for Mr Klaus in the Shelbourne Hotel, hosted by Mr Ganley, which has sparked controversy.

Mr Klaus arrived shortly before 8pm and he and Mr Ganley gave a short press conference before dinner.

His attendance has given rise to some controversy with Government sources suggesting a breach in protocol.

Mr Klaus said no protocol was breached and pointed out that during the first two days of the visit – during which he met Taoiseach Brian Cowen and President Mary McAleese “no-one mentioned this evening's [event]”.

“It's a creation on the part of the media that it was a problem,” he said.

Two MEPs from the eurosceptic party Mouvement pour la France are in attendance tonight, including leader Viscount Philippe de Villiers. The Austrian MEP Hans-Peter Martin; MEP Kathy Sinnott; former MEP Patricia McKenna; Anthony Coughlan of the National Platform; and columnist Bruce Arnold are also among the guests.

"There has been a radical shift from integration to unification, from intergovernmentalism to supranationalism, said Mr Klaus.

"The European Constitution, now called the Lisbon Treaty, is something which accelerates the shift," he said.

Mr Ganley said he was optimistic that Libertas could become a pan-European Party.

“It just may be that the European elections in 2009 might be an opportunity to give Europe the referendum that they did not want to have,” he said.

Both Mr Ganley and Mr Klaus will deliver speeches tonight. Some 80 people were at the private dinner to which media were not invited.

The Lisbon Treaty was rejected by Irish voters at a referendum in June, sparking a crisis for plans to reform European Union structures.

A total of 53.4 per cent voted to reject the treaty and 46.6 per cent voted in favour. All but 10 constituencies rejected the treaty, with a total of 752,451 voting in favour of Lisbon and 862,415 votes against. Turnout was 53.1 per cent.