EU summit: Czech government split over pact rejection

 
Czech PM Petr Necas (30 Jan 2012) Petr Necas said he could not accept the content of the pact

The Czech prime minister's decision to join the UK in refusing to back an EU fiscal pact has prompted an angry response from coalition colleagues.

Petr Necas said that questions still remained over the deal, approved by the EU's 25 other member states.

But Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg accused him of harming the Czech national interest.

UK PM David Cameron has ruled out signing the pact but has agreed not to stop EU institutions enforcing it.

The aim of the treaty is much closer co-ordination of budget policy across the EU to prevent excessive debts accumulating.

The treaty will empower the European Court of Justice to monitor compliance and impose fines on rule-breakers.

When he initially imposed his veto last month, Mr Cameron argued that the European Court of Justice and European Commission should be involved only in agreements made by all 27 member states.

He said on Monday he still had "legal concerns" about the use of the institutions and added that "we'll be watching like a hawk" to ensure no measures would be taken to "undermine the EU single market".

His apparent change of heart has prompted some figures on the eurosceptic wing of his Conservative party to accuse him of appeasing their more pro-European coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats.

At the last EU summit in December, the UK stood out as the only EU country not to give its initial support for the deal, due to be signed in March.

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The country must adopt the euro at some point in the future, and is proud of its own fiscal prudence. So what lies behind Czech reticence to sign up?”

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Czech objections

Although other non-eurozone states, including Poland, had reservations about some of the terms of the pact, in the end only the Czechs refused to give their backing at Monday's summit.

The Czech Republic is not yet in the euro, but like the other new EU member states it is committed to joining.

Poland insisted that non-eurozone countries should have the right to take part in summits involving the 17 states that use the euro. PM Donald Tusk accepted a compromise that allowed their participation in at least one summit per year.

But, in a statement, Czech PM Petr Necas said he could not accept the deal "because of its content and also because of a lack of clarity regarding its ratification and the effective date".

British PM David Cameron: "We will not be ratifying this treaty and it places no obligation on the UK"

However he added that changes made to the pact were "extremely valuable" and he held out the prospect of the Czech Republic joining in the future.

Mr Necas is supported by his Civic Democrat party colleague and eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

His stance was criticised by Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, leader of junior coalition partner Top 09, who complained that "state interests were harmed", according to CTK news agency.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    It is like watching a load of lemmings head blindly off of a cliff with begging bowls in hand.

    None of them understand what they are doing, only that they do not want to be left out, just in case they miss a possible handout.

    It appears that no EU member state, other than us, has any self-respect at all.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 15.

    Hats off to the Czechs - a proud people, who resisted Hitler's and Stalin's tyrannies and now are ready to resist the apparently more benign Euro-tyranny. Having escaped a generation ago from Moscow's clutches, the Czechs are right to maintain their sovereign decision-making on these matters. Paraphrasing Orwell, freedom is appreciated by those who know what it's like to lose it...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    Who cares anyway? The euro's going to be history eventually, probably to be replaced by jetons, food stamps, or some other feudal 'money'.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    The Czech's are definitely not "committed to joining the euro". Any such decision was put off until 2015 and subsequently until "the eurozone sorts it's own house out". This is the stance of Necas and Kalousek.

    They are also negotiating an opt out from being forced to join the euro. All of this is just posturing by the PM. They will sign eventually , but not for the reasons stated by BluesBerry

 

Comments 5 of 17

 

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