Prague - Two weeks ago, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the euro-sceptic Czech government had not swept the Lisbon Treaty under the carpet and that it would seek parliamentary ratification of the document by the end of this year.
But following a complaint submitted by President Václav Klaus, the Constitutional Court first has to examine the treaty's compatibility with the Czech constitution. A verdict can only be expected at the end of November, too late for the parliament to fulfil the premier's pledge.
"It is completely evident that it won't happen this year. I would say that it is due to extraneous influences," Topolánek said on Tuesday 4 November after a meeting with Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen.
The delay and the uncertainty about when and if at all the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified by the Czech Republic will put the country in a strange position: After the New Year's, the Czech government will take over the rotating EU presidency, and as such will be responsible for pushing the implementation of the treaty.
Besides Ireland, whose voters rejected the treaty in a referendum, the only other country that has not yet ratified the treaty is Sweden, where a parliamentary vote is scheduled for later this month. Germany is merely waiting for the final green light from its constitutional court, and Poland's ratification needs to be signed by President Lech Kaczyński.