"I am pleased to announce that the European Council has this evening agreed to accept the exemption that the President of the Czech Republic has requested in order to be able to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon. We succeeded in reaching this agreement thanks to the many EU leaders who showed leadership and a strong willingness to cooperate", said Fredrik Reinfeldt at the press conference that concluded the first day of the EU summit.
With this decision the Czech Republic has received the same exemption as Poland and the United Kingdom, from 'protocol 30' in the Lisbon Treaty's Charter of Fundamental Rights.
A few days ago, the Czech President said that he was pleased with the compromise solution that the Swedish Presidency had presented.
“We wanted to ensure that the Czech Republic's neighbouring countries could also accept this solution. We have done that this evening and it is very pleasing that we can now move forward", said Fredrik Reinfeldt.
President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso welcomed the evening's decision, likening the Lisbon Treaty's journey to a marathon.
“I would like to congratulate the Swedish Presidency on a job well done. It has been hard work getting everyone to agree, but tonight we have cleared the last political hurdle. This is a very important agreement", said Mr Barroso.
Treaty can enter into force in December at the earliest
Despite the evening's agreement, the Czech Constitutional Court still has to complete its examination of the Treaty, and President Vaclav Klaus still has to sign it. The court can present its verdict on 3 November at the earliest. If the Treaty is signed during the month of November then it will enter into force on 1 December.
Tomorrow the meeting of the European Council continues. It is hoped that progress can be made on the difficult question of ‘climate financing', where a number of outstanding issues still need to be resolved.
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