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Klaus Signs Lisbon Treaty

Klaus Signs Lisbon Treaty

2009. 11. 03.

The move was welcomed by the president of the European Commission as well as by Czech and European politicians, analysts and the market, helping the Czech currency to strengthen against the euro.

“I’ll say that today at 1500 CET I signed the Treaty,” Mr. Klaus said at a press conference, mentioning his signing of the document as a final footnote in his brief speech after going through a list of issues he has with the Treaty. Mr. Klaus didn’t take questions from reporters.

Earlier in the day the Czech Constitutional Court ruled the treaty is in line with Czech law, thus freeing Mr. Klaus to sign the document after earlier barring Mr. Klaus from doing so.

The court was reviewing the document to overcome final concerns expressed by a group of Czech senators over the Treaty’s legality.

Mr. Klaus said that while he expected and respected the court’s decision, he “absolutely” doesn’t agree with the decision. “The Czech Republic will cease to be a sovereign state” after the Treaty comes into effect, he said.

Despite the negative tone of Mr. Klaus’s announcement, the news was welcomed by the markets and the Czech koruna firmed on the news. The koruna recently traded at 26.24 to the euro from 26.25 before the announcement.

“The approval of the Treaty will lead to the jump-starting of more efficient governing of the European Union, which in turn is positive for the Czech Republic,” said Ivan Gabal, a Prague-based political analyst and sociologist.

Mr. Gabal said Czech ratification of the document will allow for further integration of the legal systems the EU and the Czech Republic.

“The transfer of EU laws and legal culture to the Czech Republic was positive for the country prior to its accession to the European Union, and it will be even more so now, Mr. Gabal said.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Tuesday said he was “extremely pleased” by the Czech court’s verdict and said the Treaty could come into effect as soon as December or January.

U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the news was a positive step for the EU.

“I welcome President Klaus’s decision to sign the Lisbon Treaty, thereby completing the process of ratification in the Czech Republic. President Klaus’ decision marks an important and historic step for all of Europe,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

“Today is a day when Europe looks forward, when it sets aside years of debate on its institutions, and moves to take strong and collective action on the issues that matter most to European citizens: security, climate change, jobs and growth,” Mr. Brown’s statement said.

Mr. Klaus was the final signatory among EU states, and the final obstacle to the document’s approval.

With his signature, the Czech Republic officially ratified the Treaty, bringing to a close the EU’s protracted efforts to bring the document, aimed at streamlining the bloc’s decision-making and create permanent posts for an EU president and foreign secretary, into law.

By SEAN CARNEY and LEOS ROUSEK

The Wall Street Journal