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Polen ondertekent Verdrag van Lissabon, Tsjechië nog onzeker (en)

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER), gepubliceerd op zaterdag 10 oktober 2009, 15:18.

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Polish President Lech Kaczynski at noon on Saturday (10 October) signed the Lisbon Treaty at a ceremony in Warsaw. But Czech head of state Vaclav Klaus put a dampener on the occasion in an attempt to revive World-War-Two-era tension from his castle in Prague

The Polish ceremony got off to a humorous start.

After making the EU wait for 557 days since the Polish parliament passed the treaty and in full view of foreign VIPs and TV cameras, Mr Kaczynski's first pen failed to write, forcing him to ask for a new one.

"It wasn't planned," a Polish official, Pawel Wypych, told Polish TV.

Mr Kaczynski's speech warmly endorsed Poland's EU membership but said integration should not go too far and made clear that his signature is based on trust that the union will take in other former Communist states in the future.

"Without any complexes, without fears we have opted for further integration into the European Union, because we feel good, we feel confident inside this fellowship," he said. "The union is a collection of sovereign states and will remain so. But co-operation will become ever more close."

"The union as an exceptionally successful experiment cannot be closed to others who want to join it. Not just Balkan countries, but also Ukraine, Georgia, in the future, others. The union can't say No to them," he added, in his final words before putting pen to paper.

The event was attended by EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, Swedish leader and EU president-in-office Frederik Reinfeldt and Mr Kaczynski's political nemesis, Polish premier Donald Tusk.

News emerged earlier on Saturday that 60 Polish MPs have signed a petition to send the treaty to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal to see if it is compatible with national law.

The move, if it goes ahead, could force Prime Minister Tusk to give MPs more powers over his dealings in Brussels in line with recent reforms in Germany.

But the real cloud hanging over the events in Warsaw was a grumpy Vaclav Klaus, who made clear on Friday that he plans to push for last-minute changes to the EU's legal text at the upcoming 29 October summit.

Klaus reveals his hand

The Czech president said in a statement that he wants the Czech Republic to given an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights on the model of Polish and British opt-outs, which were added to the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 in a special protocol.

The opt-out is needed, he added, in order to make sure that German families expelled from the Czech Republic 65 years ago cannot use EU courts to claim their land back.

"[The charter] will make it possible to bypass Czech courts and to raise property claims, for example, of those displaced after World War Two directly before the Court of Justice of the EU," he said.

From a legal point of view, it is unclear whether Mr Klaus is entitled to demand the change or if the other 26 EU states would have to re-ratify the document if it is made.

The Czech president voiced anger that Sweden's Mr Reinfeldt forced him to reveal the nature of his Lisbon challenge earlier than he wanted to, by revealing the contents of their phone conversation on Thursday to journalists.

"After the disclosure of the contents of our conversation that - according to our agreement - was to stay confidential, a number of speculations appeared that I'd like to stop," he said.

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