"We still don't have everything in place, but it is important that we are flexible and ready to act." This is how President of the Council Fredrik Reinfeldt summed up the day's meeting with Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek on the future of the Lisbon Treaty.
Fredrik Reinfeldt invited Messrs Fischer, Barroso and Buzek to a meeting in Brussels today to discuss how the EU should proceed after Ireland’s clear yes to the Treaty of Lisbon on Saturday. The result of the referendum has been described by many, not least Mr Reinfeldt himself, as good news for Europe, but a number of challenges still remain. In order for the Treaty of Lisbon to come into force, it must first be ratified by all the EU Member States, and following Ireland’s yes, only Poland and the Czech Republic are left.
Czech Republic yet to ratify
Poland’s President is expected to sign the Treaty shortly, but in the Czech Republic the situation is slightly different. The Lisbon Treaty has already been approved by both chambers in the Czech Parliament, but last week 17 Czech senators submitted a request to the Czech Constitutional Court to establish whether the Treaty is compatible with the Czech constitution. Czech President Vaclav Klaus cannot sign the Lisbon Treaty until after the court has delivered its verdict, which at the moment looks as though it will happen next weeks.
At a press conference, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer pointed out that he is convinced the Czech President will sign the Lisbon Treaty as soon as the Czech Constitutional Court has completed its examination of the Treaty.
"I am completely convinced that there is no need for Europe to worry, The question of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic is not one of whether it will be a yes or a no, but rather of when the Treaty can be ratified," says Jan Fischer.
"I fully respect that the Czech legal process must be allowed to take the time it takes, but it is also important that we prepare the EU at the same time to ensure as smooth an implementation of the Lisbon Treaty as possible," says Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Preparations under way
And the preparations have been under way for a while. One of the changes the new Treaty entails is the appointment of a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a permanent President of the European Council. These changes will have consequences for the EU’s daily work and the preparations require a lot of work. But as it stands Fredrik Reinfeldt does not know when the new EU posts can be filled.
"As soon as we have got a clear idea of when we can begin to implement the Treaty of Lisbon I will contact the other Member States to consult my colleagues on that issue. I hope that it will be in the near future," says Fredrik Reinfeldt.