Czech leader ready to agree to EU changes

Oct. 23, 2009 at 3:59 PM   |   Comments

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus signaled Friday he would sign a European Union treaty that will include a change he sought at the last minute.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus had said he would not sign the Lisbon Treaty -- which would grant greater powers to the European Union -- unless it contained language exempting the Czech Republic from paying reparations or returning land to the estimated 2.5 million ethnic Germans expelled from the Sudeten areas after World War II. He argued the document's charter language exposed the Czech Republic to property claims.

Friday, however, Klaus said he was satisfied with a proposal offered by EU President Carl Bildt of Sweden, the EUobserver reported.

"The president ... received the Swedish presidency's proposal which is a response to his request related to the Lisbon Treaty ratification in the Czech Republic," Klaus's office said in a statement. "This proposal corresponds to what the president has envisioned and it is possible to work with it further."

The Czech Parliament voted to ratify the treaty, which must be signed by all European Union members to take effect. However, Klaus has expressed opposition to expanding the organization's power and some observers said his insistence on the exemption could be viewed as a way to delay his eventual signing of the treaty, The Washington Post said.

EU ministers will meet in Brussels next week, when they are expected to focus on the institutional implications of putting the treaty into force, EUobserver said.

Topics: Vaclav Klaus
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