Czech court finds EU reform treaty constitutional

[JURIST] The Czech Constitutional Court [official website] on Wednesday ruled unanimously [judgment text] that the European Union (EU) reform pact formally known as the Treaty of Lisbon [official website; text] is consistent with the Czech Constitution [text]. Members of the Civic Democratic Party [official website] of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek [personal website] had asked the court to review the constitutional compatibility of the Treaty prior to its consideration by parliament. The court rejected arguments [BBC report] advanced by Topolanek and Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website], among others, that adoption of the treaty would undermine Czech sovereignty, holding:

[T]oday sovereignty can no longer be understood absolutely; sovereignty is more a practical matter. In this sense, the transfer of certain competences of the state, which arises from the free will of the sovereign and will continue to be exercised with the sovereign’s participation, in a manner that is agreed on in advance and is reviewable, is not a conceptual weakening of the sovereignty of a state, but, on the contrary, can lead to strengthening it within the joint actions of an integrated whole.
The ruling frees both houses of the Czech parliament [official backgrounder, in Czech] to consider adoption of the reform measures, although passage is unlikely in advance of the Czech Republic assuming the EU presidency in January.

Topolanek previously expressed doubt [BBC report] that his parliament would ratify the treaty even if it were found to be constitutional. Irish voters rejected [JURIST report] the treaty in a June referendum, prompting Polish President Lech Kaczynski [official website] to refuse [JURIST report] to sign, calling it "pointless." The treaty must be ratified by all 27 EU member states before it can take effect, though each country may choose the method of ratification. Earlier this week Sweden became the 24th EU state to ratify the charter [JURIST report]. Some polls suggest that Irish voters might now approve the treaty [JURIST report] in a hypothetical re-vote. In 2005, a proposed European constitution [JURIST news archive] failed when voters in France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] rejected the proposal in national referenda.

 

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