A stubborn old man, of course. Czech president Vaclav Klaus shows his contempt for the EU presidency by refusing to talk (SW) to Mr Reinfeldt, presently the President of the European Council. According to Mr. Reinfeldt, however, President Klaus insists on adding a”footnote” to the Treaty as a condition for signing (even if the Czech Constitutional Court would reject the objections made by a number of Klaus supporters). Exactly what this footnote would contain is anybody’s guess but Mr. Reinfeldt says “As far as I understand it, he’s linking this to the (EU’s) Charter of Fundamental Rights and then he wants the European Council to take a decision on this footnote”. This could probably be done only in December and there is of course no guarantee that all 26 member states would agree on Mr. Klaus’ footnote.
This last ditch effort by Klaus is of course intended to delay the ratification until the British general election. Statements today by Mr. Cameron and his shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs leave no doubt that the UK is interested in the common market and free trade and nothing else. In other words in transforming the European Union into a super-EFTA, the ill-fated free trade area where the British cynically abandoned their partners when they could get a better deal with the EEC.
The democratic deficit of the EU institutions is a burning and important issue. But how “democratic” is it to have the whole process of implementing the Lisbon Treaty dependent on the whims of one single person? Swedish parade liberal, Johan Norberg (SW) is indignant over the fact the the Irish had to vote twice to come to the right answer. But how “democratic” would it have been to have a small group of anti-abortionists and people unhappy with their national government taking the Treaty, effecting the whole Union, as hostage?’
Some Swedish observers (SW) with an otherwise open mind and a broad-minded and international perspective oppose the Treaty because it would mean a Presidency of Mr. Blair, in their opinion a “non-convicted war criminal.” Without going into that particular aspect it must be regarded as highly improper to elect a representative of a non-Euro country, not participating in the Schengen agreement, having opted out of central parts of the Lisbon Treaty and, in addition, insisting on having the better part of its membership fee paid by other countries (including for example Rumania, Bulgaria, Portugal and others). However, several countries now seem to be coordinating their anti-Blair efforts, under the leadership of Mr. Juncker, in addition to which a coming Conservative British Government would not be delighted to meet a “president” Blair. Be that as it may, the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty is too important to be subjected to short-term or personal considerations. Maybe the unloved Blair will be at the helm but – “this too will pass.”