The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has put his signature to ratification
of the European Union’s Lisbon treaty, allowing the document to come into
force across the whole of the 27-member bloc; the Czech Republic was the
last state in the EU to complete ratification of Lisbon. Mr Klaus released
a statement saying he had signed the treaty at 15:00 on Tuesday, only hours
after the Czech Constitutional Court ruled that it did not contravene the
In a statement, the Czech president said he had expected the court to rule in favour of Lisbon. However, he also said that its verdict had not been legally neutral but represented a biased political defence of the document. Mr Klaus also said the Czech Republic would cease to be a sovereign state once the Lisbon treaty was implemented.
The caretaker Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, co-signed the Lisbon treaty later on Tuesday afternoon, meaning that ratification has been completed on the part of the Czech Republic. The document must now be lodged in Rome.
With the subject of who will become the Czech Republic’s next European commissioner sure to heat up in the wake of Mr Klaus’s signing of Lisbon, his former party the Civic Democrats have said they should be allowed to make that choice. Leader Mirek Topolánek said on Tuesday that the party deserved that right as they had come first in the last elections to the Czech lower house. Mr Topolánek also said he would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Fischer and the leader of the Social Democrats, Jiří Paroubek, on Wednesday. Mr Fischer has said that if the political parties cannot agree on a candidate, his interim cabinet will select one themselves by the start of next week.
The Czech economy should grow by 0.8 percent in 2010, according to a newly released forecast from the European Commission. Its prognosis is rather more positive than that of the Czech finance ministry, which expects a 0.3 percent rise in gross domestic product next year – following a fall of 5 percent this year. The European Commission said the Czech Republic had come out of a recession in the second quarter of 2009 after real GDP had stabilized; it predicted mild growth in the final two quarters of 2009. Looking further ahead, it forecast growth of 2.3 percent in 2011.
Civic Democrat MP Marek Benda has admitted that his academic title was acquired improperly at the law faculty at Plzeň’s University of West Bohemia. The faculty has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged that some students had received academic qualifications there without having done the necessary work. Mr Benda, who is chair of the lower house’s constitutional-legal committee, said he had neglected some formalities in connection with his doctorate. He has asked to be allowed to defend his dissertation again once it has been completed. Former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil, who was appointed dean of the disgraced law faculty on Monday, said he would seek legal advice on whether that was possible. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have called for Mr Benda to step down as chair of the constitutional-legal committee.
An Austrian company says it is hoping to sell 30,000 mobile phones for the elderly on the Czech market every year. A representative of the firm Emporia said its target market were the 1.5 million people in the Czech Republic over the age of 65. A number of other companies are already selling mobiles for seniors in this country.
Czech ice hockey player Tomáš Kaberle has been named first Star of the Week in the NHL. The defenceman received the accolade after registering two goals and 10 assists in four away games for Toronto Maple Leafs. The Czech player, who is 31, was credited with helping Toronto take points in all four games, though the club suffered three overtime losses.
Czech senators who lodged a complaint against the EU’s reforming Lisbon
treaty have made a further submission to the Czech Republic’s highest
court aimed at supplementing their case. An official at the Czech
Constitutional Court said on Monday that the mostly right-leaning senators
had lodged their new material on Friday. The court is due to meet on
Tuesday over their complaint about whether the treaty is in conflict with
Czech law. A decision is looking likely. Senators added to their original
submission when the court sat last Tuesday with court chairman Pavel
Rychetský complaining then that the move bordered on obstruction.
The court verdict is the last barrier standing in the way of Czech ratification of the Lisbon treaty after President Václav Klaus was granted an exemption from part of the treaty, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, at a meeting of EU leaders at the end of last week. President Klaus said he wanted guarantees that Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia at the end of World War Two could not use it to reclaim their property.
The biggest grouping of Czech trades unions has warned that it could lodge its own complaint at the Czech Constitutional Court against the Czech exemption from the Lisbon treaty’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trades Unions says the exemption affects a whole raft of labour and social rights and leaves Czechs second class citizens in Europe. Confederation chairman Milan Štěch told Czech Radio on Monday that it is mulling lodging its own complaint at the court.
The academic senate of the Plzeň law faculty elected former justice
minister Jiří Pospíšil as the new dean of the troubled faculty on
Monday evening. The move helps stave off the threat of emergency management
and closure. Mr. Pospíšil won 11 votes from the 18-strong senate, one
more than needed to be elected.
The Plzeň law faculty is currently the focus of a highly-publicised scandal involving plagiarism, fast-track diplomas, and suspected corruption. A former student at the faculty, Mr. Pospíšil was brought in five weeks ago to try and sort out the shambles. The academic senate faced a choice between Mr. Pospíšil and Prague lawyer Karol Hrádela. Mr. Hrádela argued that an outsider with no connections to the faculty should get the job. Former Jaroslav Zachariáš stepped down during the scandal. Many of those receiving fast-track diplomat have been Czech politicians with prominent Civic Democrat Marek Benda the latest to come to the attention of local media.
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