‘Ireland key to Lisbon Treaty’

July 25th, 2008 - 3:40 am ICT by IANS  

Prague, July 25 (DPA) The future of the Lisbon Treaty lies in the hands of Ireland, whose voters rejected the pact in a June referendum, the Czech and Polish presidents said Thursday. The dinner meeting between Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus at the Lany Chateau outside Prague has not changed the opinion of the Czech president, who declared the treaty dead following the Irish no.

“Without a change of the Irish result it makes no sense to further talk about it,” CTK news agency cited Klaus as saying.

Klaus is a longtime critic of the EU accord, designed to streamline decision-making in the expanded 27-nation bloc. He says it’s too federalist and too much like a European constitution.

Kaczynski’s visit has led to speculation that he will urge his Czech counterpart to support the Lisbon Treaty. Neither the Czech Republic nor Poland have ratified the pact.

The Polish leader, who is also seen as a eurosceptic and treaty critic, repeated Thursday his earlier vow not to block the pact but also pointed out that the ball is in Ireland’s court.

“The key lies in the change of Ireland’s position. There is no treaty without Ireland, but Poland will not obstruct ratification,”CTK quoted him as saying.

In Poland, the pact was ratified by parliament and awaits Kaczynski’s signature.

Kaczynski initially called his signing of the accord “pointless” but recently assured French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who launched efforts to rescue the treaty, that Poland will not stand in the way.

The Czech Republic is several steps behind. Ratification in parliament is on hold until the country’s constitutional court completes a review of whether the Lisbon Treaty is constitutional.

Klaus had previously pledged not to obstruct the treaty but called it dead as soon as Irish voters rejected it in a June 12 referendum. Since then, he has left open whether he would sign the pact if the Czech parliament approves it.

Approval by all EU members is needed for the treaty to take effect. So far, parliaments of 20 countries have endorsed it.

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