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Press Statement by the President of the Czech Republic after the Senate Vote on the Lisbon Treaty

5/6/2009 , Prague

Press Statement by the President of the Czech Republic after the Senate Vote on the Lisbon Treaty

I have to start expressing my disappointment with some of the Senators who by agreeing with the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty – after an unprecedented political and media, domestic and foreign pressure – renounced the views they had publicly held until recently, and together with them also their political and civic integrity. They thus turned their back on the long-term interests of the Czech Republic and put the short-term interests of the current political representation and their own above them.

This is a very sad evidence of yet another failure of an important part of our political elites which we know all too well from other crucial moments of our history. Our politicians have always found similar cowardly excuses: We are small and weak, we do not mean anything in the European context, we must follow suit, even though we do not agree. This is something I reject. We either regained our sovereignty after November 1989, and together with it also the responsibility for the fate of our country, or it was all a tragic mistake. What happened today is an important wake-up call, coming in the timely moment of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of communism.

I will wait to see if a group of senators, as some of them announced, asks the Constitutional Court for yet another examination of the compatibility of the Lisbon Treaty with the Czech Constitution. If this happens, I will not be considering my decision to ratify the Lisbon Treaty before the Constitutional Court makes its decision.

My views on this matter are known and clear. I can’t afford being resolutely against at one moment, and then easily change my mind just because it is beginning to fit my personal political or career objectives.

We are not in a hurry. Right now, the Lisbon Treaty is dead, because it was rejected in a referendum in one of the member states. My deciding about the ratification of this Treaty is therefore not the issue of the day.

Václav Klaus, Prague Castle, 6. May 2009

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