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20. 8. 2009 20:16

Statement by the Minister Š. Füle on the issue of a renewed proposal for the review of the Lisbon Treaty s compliance with the Constitutional Order

Prague, August 20th, 2009 – The Minister for European Affairs Štefan Füle considers the indications related to the finalizing of the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic that have recently appeared in the Czech press discomforting.

More than three months after the Senate, following a vote by the Chamber of Deputies, agreed on 6 May 2009 by qualified majority to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, the date of its completion remains uncertain. A group of Senators had earlier signaled their willingness to submit, by the middle of August, a new proposal for the review of the Lisbon Treaty’s compliance with the Constitutional Order. This has not happened yet. Instead, information has surfaced in the media that the group of Senators will submit to the Constitutional Court an application for review of the constitutionality of the so called Lisbon Amendment to the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies and the Standing Rules of the Senate (“binding mandate”). Only then does the group intend to consider filing another application to the Constitutional Court for a preliminary review of the constitutional conformity of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Government by no means disputes the right to subject the Lisbon Treaty to a thorough legal and political review. On the contrary, the Government welcomed the ruling of the Constitutional Court of 26 November 2008 based on the Senate’s application. It held that the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty do not violate the Constitutional Order of the Czech Republic, paving the way for both Chambers of the Parliament to give a green light to its ratification. Likewise, the Government does not question the right to ask for a Constitutional review of domestic legal acts. Yet, in the case of the Lisbon Amendment to the Rules of Procedure of both Chambers of the Parliament that introduces the binding mandate, it finds no grounds for it. The Government supported the amendment from the very beginning, because it considers it a progressive modification of the involvement of the Czech Parliament in the EU decision-making process. Moreover, the Lisbon Amendment to the Rules of Procedure was approved by a solid majority of 73 out of 81 Senators. The above-mentioned application, which has to be submitted by at least 17 Senators, would therefore have to be supported by some Senators who originally voted for it.

The application for review of the Lisbon Treaty and the application for review of the Lisbon Amendment to the Rules of Procedure are two separate submissions, the lodging of which is not mutually predetermined. The Minister for European Affairs is, therefore, of the opinion that there are neither legal nor factual reasons for creating time sequences between them. Such approach could create doubts and speculation about efforts to postpone a final decision on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic.

Further delaying the resolution of existing doubts increases the probability that the Czech Republic will be the only Member State blocking the entry into force of the Treaty. Such course of events would have international consequences that could endanger the reputation of the Czech Republic vis-?-vis its partners as a country that fulfils its commitments

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