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Czech court delays judgment on EU Lisbon Treaty

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic [official website, in Czech] delayed [press release, in Czech] judgment Tuesday on a challenge to the country's signing of the European Union (EU) reform treaty, known as the Treaty of Lisbon [EU materials; JURIST news archive]. The complaint was brought by a group of senators who claim that the treaty infringes [Ceske report] upon Czech sovereignty. In addition to surviving the legal challenge, the treaty must also be signed by Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website, in Czech] before it takes effect, but Klaus has said he will wait to do so until after the court has made its decision. The postponement has been criticized [Ceske report] by various Czech politicians, and there has been speculation that Klaus will be pressured to make a decision on the treaty before a European Council meeting [materials] scheduled to begin on Thursday. The court expects to deliver an opinion by next week.

The Czech Republic is the only EU member state that has not yet ratified the treaty. In a statement [text, in Czech; JURIST report] last week, Klaus said he was satisfied with the the treaty, given the inclusion of an opt-out clause that would shield the country from property claims by ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia during World War II. The Czech Republic's Chamber of Deputies [official website] approved [JURIST report] the treaty in February, and the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic [official website] voted to approve [JURIST report] the treaty in March. Efforts to ratify the treaty [JURIST news archive] in all 27 EU member states, as required for approval, have faced some opposition. Members Poland and Ireland [JURIST reports] approved the treaty earlier in the month, but only after certain guarantees were made by the EU. Germany signed [JURIST report] the treaty in September.

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