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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Lisbon Treaty in sight or maybe not?

Today:
  1. Czechs postpone Lisbon Treaty vote to 2009
  2. Lisbon Treaty given green light by Czech court
  3. Irish parliament clears path to new Lisbon referendum
  4. Swedes approve Lisbon Treaty as Czechs, Irish squabble
  5. Eurosceptic chancellor to take lead in Austria
  6. Poll: Irish may say 'yes' to Lisbon Treaty
Don't worry, most of them are quite short.

Czechs postpone Lisbon Treaty vote to 2009

10 December 2008

Czech MPs yesterday decided to postpone voting on the Lisbon Treaty, putting paid to hopes that they would ratify the controversial treaty before they adopt the rotating EU presidency on 1 January.

Having survived a party leadership contest at the weekend (EurActiv 08/12/08), Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek in theory gained a stronger mandate to ratify the treaty in the Czech parliament and could have put it to vote had he so wished.

However, at yesterday's extraordinary meeting of parliament initiated by the Czech opposition, Topolanek instead led his ODS (Civic Democrat) party to postpone the debate on the treaty, which will now take place on 3 February. This, then, is the earliest possible date for the Czechs to vote on the treaty. Even then, the vote is not guaranteed to take place.

In fact, Topolanek pushed the ODS to prioritise the approval of the controversial US missile defence systems above Lisbon in the 2009 parliamentary agenda.

The official reason given for the postponement of the vote was Topolanek's assertion that the treaty still needed to be examined by a number of parliamentary committees. Moreover, he claimed that before putting Lisbon to vote, he needed to discuss the treaty and other aspects of cross-party cooperation with the leader of the Czech opposition.

In reality, it is believed the Czech PM is buying time in order to unify the warring factions of his own party, following the dramatic resignation from the ODS of anti-Lisbon Czech President and party chairman Vaclav Klaus on Saturday. source
My comment: So, they will get the Presidency before they ratify the Treaty? Fun! Just notice what is more important for them- to have their precious missile defence system. All I can say in the case is that Georgia learnt the hard way that you don't fight Russia with good intentions from the USA. It's just not going to happen. So if they think this is some type of defence against Russia, they are SO wrong.

Lisbon Treaty given green light by Czech court

26 November 2008

The Czech Republic's highest court today (26 November) ruled that the Lisbon Treaty is consistent with the country's constitution, clearing the way for the country to ratify the EU's reform treaty and cornering Ireland, which is now the only EU country to block it.

The Czech Constitutional Court started public proceedings on the treaty's compatibility with the Czech constitutional order on Tuesday, when it heard a speech criticising the text by President Vaclav Klaus and another by Vice Premier Alexandr Vondra, responsbile for European affairs, who spoke in favour of the treaty on behalf of the Czech government. source

My comment: Not much to say here. It's funny how the President and the Premier had to plead for the Treaty. That's odd. One would think that the Court should be independent from the other powers. In any case, they ran out of excuses.

Irish parliament clears path to new Lisbon referendum

28 November 2008

An all-party parliamentary report published in Dublin yesterday cleared the way for a re-run of the failed 12 June Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland, which threw the Union into crisis.

"No legal obstacle appears to exist to having a referendum either on precisely the same issue as that dealt with on June 12 or some variation thereof," said the report, by an Irish parliamentary sub-committee looking at the country's future in the EU.

The report warned that the position of Ireland has been diminished since 12 June and that the country could suffer serious economic consequences as a result of the negative vote on the Union's reform treaty.

Significantly, the report warns that other EU countries are likely to develop a mechanism to allow them to move forward - without Ireland - with the reforms envisaged by the treaty.

The current world economic crisis also appeared to be a major argument in favour of the Irish thinking again. As a result of its isolation, the ability of Irish banks to raise money in international markets would be diminished and the country would be less capable of competing for foreign direct investment.

The report also rejected as "undesirable" a suggestion that Ireland could ratify the Lisbon Treaty through its parliament. Scholars had pointed out that this solution was legally possible, but politically difficult to sell to the Irish people.

Moreover, a solution whereby Ireland would leave the Union was rejected as "unthinkable".

Although stopping short of proposing concrete solutions, the report leans heavily in favour of a second referendum with additional declarations, joint decisions or protocols to reassure Irish voters on various issues. source

My comment: Nothing we didn't already knew. Ireland will have to vote Yes eventually, simply because they were wrong the first time. They were used in a very ugly manner and now people start seeing it. I don't know what to think about the One commissionaire/country. It sounds good, but how practical will it be if there are 5 more countries to join the EU? I don't know. Maybe it's doable, every country prefers to keep that ratio, though imagine if there are two good candidates for 2 positions from 1 country. This isn't particularly business-oriented way to work. I don't know, I have to make up my mind on that yet. But so far, it wouldn't hurt to keep the 1 commissionaire until the next enlargement.

Swedes approve Lisbon Treaty as Czechs, Irish squabble

21 November 2008
The Swedish Parliament's approval of the EU Reform Treaty yesterday (20 November) has further increased the pressure on the EU's two odd men out, the Czech Republic and Ireland, to come up with a rescue plan for the text.

Just days before the Czech court is set to give its opinion on the treaty, 243 Swedish MPs voted in favour and 39 against the text, with 12 abstentions, raising the number of EU countries that ratified it to 23. The parliaments of Germany and Poland have already given their approval, but ratification is not yet complete as the country's presidents have not yet signed the text.

In a thinly-veiled attack on Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Duff said it was "fortunate that Sweden does not have an eccentric, eurosceptic head of state to impede the completion of the ratification process". source
My comment:Nice! What more can I say. Especially the last paragraph which is entirely correct. Way to go Sweden!

Eurosceptic chancellor to take lead in Austria

24 November 2008

Austria yesterday (23 November) formed another grand coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People's Party (ÖVP). But this time the new government is expected to be led by a eurosceptic chancellor.

A 200-page coalition agreement indicates that the government will fall if one party decides to push for a referendum on a new EU treaty. The Austrian Parliament ratified the Lisbon Treaty in April 2008 amid calls for a referendum from the right-wing opposition.

The prospective new chancellor, Werner Faymann (SPÖ), insists that a nationwide referendum should be held on any new EU treaty. But his future Deputy Chancellor Joseph Proell (ÖVP) insists that no referendum should occur against his party's will.

Faymann is known as a eurosceptic prepared to push his party into uncharted waters. He benefited from the support of Austria's tabloid press due to the party's promise to put the future of the EU to a popular vote. He served as transport and infrastructure minister under the previous Gusenbauer government. Faymann never finished university and has never held a job outside politics. source

My comment: I don't like the guy from now. I don't understand how these people get to the power. Ok, I understand but still it sucks. I hope they make him behave. In any case I don't understand all the fuss around that Treaty. It's not that different from the last one. It's just more practical. I think people use it for media attention, not because they protect any kind of national interest. After all what interest will it harm?

Poll: Irish may say 'yes' to Lisbon Treaty

17 November 2008

The Irish may approve the Lisbon Treaty in a new referendum, provided that a number of safeguards are added to the text, according to a new opinion poll published by the Irish Times today (17 November).

The Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll reveals that a swing to the 'yes' side has taken place since the referendum defeat last June.

Now, 43% of the Irish say they would vote 'yes' and 39% woud say 'no' to the text, while 18% have no opinion. Excluding the 'don't knows', this would give the 'yes' camp 52.5% and the 'no' side 47.5%, compared with last June's referendum result of 53.4% 'no' and 46.6% 'yes' (EurActiv 13/06/08).

But the possible breakthrough would come at a price. In the poll, people were asked how they would vote if the Lisbon Treaty was modified to allow Ireland to retain its EU commissioner, with other Irish concerns on neutrality, abortion and taxation clarified in special declarations. source
My comment: That was just for information.

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