October 8, 2009
As the Euro-sceptic Polish president has promised to put his signature on the Lisbon Treaty, there remains a single obstacle in the way of leaving behind the decade-long institutional haggling to make the EU institutions work: Václav Klaus. The Czech pundit-president wants to have a strange footnote in history: he wants to add a personal footnote to the Treaty of 27 European sovereign states.
Mr Klaus, behaves as if he was sovereign ruler of the Czech state that happens to be a parliamentary democracy. The upper and lower houses of the nation’s parliament have ratified the treaty, so the president has no legitimate or rightful reason to put the treaty into force. But he is a man of different principles. He also refuses to ratify the treaty on the International Criminal Court, giving war criminals a lonely safe-haven in the middle of Europe. He welcomes that Greenland will be green again and hopes that evolution will teach polar bears to survey, probably in civilized zoos.
The Lisbon Treaty is result of difficult bargaining for a compromise on the institutional arrangement of the European Union, the only text that was adopted by 27 nation’s representatives and peoples. The political and diplomatic efforts to make this agreement has taken a lot of time and effort from such issues and economic recovery and finding Europe’s position in a shifting global power equation. It would a spectacular institutional failure if a single Czech citizen could derail the whole project. However, I believe that Mr Klaus will receive only a footnote in history. It is very difficult to comment the Czech head of state’s new move. The only thing I am sure of is that his is a very-very selfish man, because his obstruction to the Treaty is not in the interest of the Czech people.