Czechs sign EU Lisbon Treaty as last obstacle falls


 

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Czech President Vaclav Klaus signed the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty Tuesday, he announced on his Web site, paving the way for major changes to the way the 27-nation bloc is run.

The Czech Constitutional court ruled hours earlier that the treaty did not conflict with the country’s constitution, a government spokesman said.

“I respect the decision of the Constitutional Court,” Klaus said in a written statement, though he added he “disagreed” with it and said the court’s analysis was “not neutral.”

However, he concluded, “I signed the Lisbon Treaty at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT).”

The Czech Republic was the last EU nation left to approve the treaty, which could effectively give the EU a president and a foreign minister.

Klaus’s signature means the treaty — which would replace the EU constitution and aims to streamline the workings of the European Union — could come into force as early as December 1.

The Czech Parliament’s two chambers voted in favor of the treaty earlier this year. But in late September, 17 Czech senators asked the country’s Constitutional Court to examine whether some further parts of the treaty were compatible with the country’s constitution.

The court ruled Tuesday that they pose no conflict.

Klaus agreed Friday to ratify the document if the court approved, after winning an exemption ensuring it would not allow ethnic Germans forced out of the country after World War II to reclaim their former lands.

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