Lisbon Treaty protest: Klaus must sign

14. 10. 2009 17:15
A group of Lisbon Treaty supporters stage a protest at Prague Castle
Otakar Van Gemund on the right
Otakar Van Gemund on the right | Foto: Michal Štůsek

Prague - „Bad luck, he has no mandate" was a slogan of Otakar van Gemund who came to express his concerns over the Czech President obstructing the Lisbon Treaty ratification to the Prague Castle on Tuesday.

Van Gemund, of Czech-Dutch origin, has been living in the country since 1989 and together with other Lisbon Treaty supporters decided to stage a protest against what they call the "president's unconstitutional behavior".

"According to the constitution that he is hollowing out in full view of the electorate, Klaus has no mandate to change laws and international agreements already passed by Parliament," says Van Gemund to explain why they staged the protest under the slogan "He has no mandate". 

But it did not take long for the police to intervene with the crowd who planned to stop the president from entering his office. The protesters were then taken to the Prague Castle police station. They were released 45 minutes later without charges.

The Tuesday protesters are not the only ones who deem Klaus's behavior unconstitutional. A number of Czech lawmakers as well as lawyers believe that Klaus's demand that an exception be made to the Charter of Fundamental Rights is both unwarranted and meaningless.

"Klaus obviously exceeds his competences," Jiří Přibáň who specialises in European law at Cardiff University told Czech public service radio on Wednesday.

"The Czech Republic is first of all a parliamentary republic and the president should follow the decisions made by the parliament."

Now all smiles but if he doesn't sign? Jose Manuel Barroso and Jan Fischer after meeting in Brussels
Now all smiles but if he doesn't sign? Jose Manuel Barroso and Jan Fischer after meeting in Brussels | Foto: Reuters

Barroso raises pressure

Meanwhile, Brussels has stepped up pressure on the Czech Republic. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he hoped "no artificial obstacles" are being raised this time.

"We expect the Czech Republic to honour the commitment it has taken," Barroso said after meeting Czech prime minister Jan Fischer in Brussels.

"It is not in the interest of anyone, least of all in the interest of the Czech Republic, to delay matters further".

The Czech Constitutional Court is expected to hold a session over the complaint filed by a group of euroskeptic senators on October 27.


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