Czechs agree, Lisbon Treaty moves closer

Nov. 2, 2009 at 9:30 AM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The Czech Republic has obtained an opt-out clause to a Lisbon Treaty provision it had been objecting to, moving the treaty closer to reality, EU leaders say.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, currently heading the EU, said last week that the Czechs received an opt-out to the treaty's Charter of Fundamental Rights similar to one already obtained by Poland and the Britain, and that other EU members have agreed, the EUobserver reported.

Reinfeldt, speaking to reporters at an EU Summit in Brussels Thursday, said the Czech proposal was "accepted by neighboring countries," adding, "the road to ratification stands open."

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said that if his country -- the last holdout against the Lisbon Treaty -- signed the document, the rights charter could make it liable for property claims by millions of ethnic Germans who were removed from the then-Czechoslovakia after World War II under the Benes Decrees, the EUobserver said.

The Czech request reportedly drew opposition from Hungary and Slovakia because ethnic Hungarians had also been expelled from Czechoslovakia, while Slovakia was reportedly worried about an imbalance in legal relations between it and the Czech Republic.

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