30. 9. 2009 12:36

Position of the Government on the complaint to the Constitutional Court by a group of Senators on the issue of the "Lisbon Amendment"

Position of the Government of the Czech Republic on the complaint to the Constitutional Court by a group of Senators on the issue of the “Lisbon Amendment” of the Rules of Procedure and on the second petition for review of the Lisbon Treaty by the Constitutional Court.

Prague, 29 September 2009 – The Government approved today its statement on the complaint by a group of 17 Senators of 1 September 2009 to the Constitutional Court related to the so-called ”Lisbon Amendment” of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of the Czech Republic”. The group of Senators is requesting the annulment of selected parts of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament as unconstitutional. In approving its statement the Government acted on the request of the Constitutional Court and it has done so without using up the 30-day limit in the interest of speedy proceedings before the Constitutional Court.

On the basis of thorough legal analysis of the complaint, the Government has come to the conclusion in its statement that the complaint by the group of Senators is unsubstantiated as concerns its first part (Part A) and that the remaining part (Part B) contains requests which, in the opinion of the Government, do not fall within the scope of competence of the Constitutional Court in these proceedings.

In Part A, the group of Senators, amongst others, proposes that the Constitutional Court cancel the provisions which prescribe the minimal number of Senators (17) or Members of the Chamber of Deputies (41) authorized to initiate in their chamber bringing an action to the Court of Justice of the EU for a breach of the principle of subsidiarity. The Government does not consider these provisions to be undemocratic, as the Senators claim. It is fully within the competence of the Parliament to set such limits. Moreover, such an initiative may also be presented to the chamber by the respective “European” committees. In these committees a proposal may be initiated by each individual Member of the Chamber of Deputies or Senator. Consequently, the provisions in question definitely cannot be regarded a “drastic limitation” of the right of initiative, as s the petitioners state, let alone an unconstitutional limitation.

In Part B, the petitioners argue in several places that the “fundamental flaw in the implementing law” (as the Senators refer to the Amendment to the Rules of Procedure) “are provisions which it lacks.” However, in accordance with the established case-law of the Constitutional Court, the Government emphasizes that seeking concrete legal modifications at the Constitutional Court, the role of which is only one of a so-called  “negative lawmaker” (i.e.  it may only annul legal regulations or their parts), is impermissible in these proceedings. 

The petitioners also request that the Constitutional Court put the adoption of legal modifications outlined by the petitioners as a precondition for the completion of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. However, according to the Constitution of the Czech Republic, the ratification of an international treaty can be delayed only and exclusively in proceedings before the Constitutional Court reviewing the compliance of the treaty with the Constitution. This is not the case of the proceedings on the basis of the complaint of 1 September 2009, which deals with the annulment of selected provisions of the “Lisbon Amendment” of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament. These proceedings have no legal connection with the ratification process and should not be linked to it.

At the same time, the Government at its meeting on September 29, 2009 discussed another petition by a group of Senators, announced to be lodged later that day, for review of the Lisbon Treaty by the Constitutional Court. The Government considers it to be an important shift toward finishing the ratification process in the Czech Republic. It is a step which will make it possible to dispel the last doubts about the compliance of the Lisbon Treaty with the Czech Constitution, which will stop domestic as well as foreign speculations on a possible obstruction of ratification brought about by repeated delays in filing the petition, and will thus contribute to increasing the Czech Republic's credibility.

Since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007, Senators have now turned to the Constitutional Court for the third time in relation to the Treaty. Despite parliamentary ratification being completed in May of this year, the process has been on the stand still for nearly five months due to doubts by a group of Senators on the Treaty's compliance with the Czech Constitution. After the Constitutional Court rules in the case of today's petition for review of the Lisbon Treaty, nothing should prevent ratification in the Czech Republic from being completed by the President's signature. After the Constitutional Court has again reviewed the Lisbon Treaty from the point of view of its compliance with the Constitution, further petition could be seen, in the Government’s view, as obstructions to ratification.


Roman Prorok, government press spokesman

e-mail:, +420 777 290 061

Marie Faturová, press spokeswoman for European affairs, +420 725 845 697

Office of the Government of the Czech Republic,

Nábřeží Edvarda Beneše 4, 118 01 Praha 1 - Malá Strana

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