MEPs oppose Czech 'opt-out' on fundamental rights charter

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The need for an appendix - or protocol - to the Lisbon Treaty to limit the impact of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights has been questioned by MEPs.

Speaking during a short debate on 20 May 2013, British Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff said that circumstances had changed since the original 2009 decision to include a protocol.

Former Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, had insisted on the protocol as a condition of him ratifying the treaty. A protocol has now been drawn up, but Mr Duff queried whether it was still needed, following the resignation of Mr Klaus in the intervening years.

He said: "[the protocol's] practical effect is to weaken the force of the charter; it has never been agreed to by the Czech parliament".

Mr Duff welcomed the fact that the parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee had not reached a formal opinion either way.

But Czech MEP Oldrich Vlasak - from the same party as former president Klaus - insisted MEPs should back the protocol.

"How can we convince people that we can deal with major problems when we are unable to accept a one-page document," he asked.

MEPs formally rejected the Czech application to opt-out during the daily voting session on 22 May 2013.

MEPs will vote on the protocol during the daily voting session from 11am on 22 May 2013.

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