Monday, October 19, 2009

Klaus crumbling...*** still holding out

From The Times:
The last man resisting the European Union’s Lisbon treaty indicated yesterday that he was ready to relent, admitting that he could not stall long enough to give David Cameron the chance to call a British referendum.

Vaclav Klaus, 66, the Eurosceptic President of the Czech Republic, said that while he was personally against the treaty, it had become like an unstoppable train after being ratified in all 26 other EU countries.

The President confirmed that Mr Cameron had suggested to him that he hold out until the next British election because, if the Conservatives won, they would put the treaty to a referendum with the intention of sinking it.
I’ve been told this morning Klaus actually isn't "the last man resisting"; there is a semi-autonomous region of a normally pretty EU-phile country still holding out against the Eurocrats and refusing to sign it off. Which means that their central government,amongst the first to sign off Lisbon, shouldn't have done so on behalf of the whole nation. True to form, the Brussels hierarchy are treating it as an internal national matter rather than querying the constitutional validity of the original "yes" descision

Anyone know the name of the region in question?

Couple of clues; as I said before, it is part of a nation which (although one of its close neighbours did once give Brussels a bloody nose on another matter) is one of the more positive EU members. The region in question isn't one of the usual separatist awkward crew. Finally, the region's problem isn't with Lisbon per se, more the dissatisfaction has arisen from purely local issues such as fishing rights.
Any ideas?

5 comments:

Keith Ruffles said...

This is a wild stab in the dark - could it be the Åland Islands?

Chekov said...

The Lisbon Treaty was the subject of our detailed discussions. On the one hand, I want to say that I see no reason to send a major signal to the EU from Moscow concerning what my next steps might be. Of course I cannot say anything new about this here. No reasonable person would expect me to do otherwise.

On the other hand, I tried to explain my approach to the President and his delegation. I explained that I am concerned - and it’s not only I who am concerned - about deepening integration within the EU. I feel it – for me this is a serious question. So when they dismiss such things as tactical obstructions they’re making a fundamental error. For me, this thing is really vital, absolutely basic. In this regard, my contribution to the dialogue on what the EU will look like in the future will continue. I explained to the President what stage we are at now in the dialogue with Brussels. From my point of view, the conditions that I outlined for our signing the Lisbon Treaty were serious conditions. And there is no reason to think that I might forget in the next few days what I have just said.


A few days ago VK sounded hardline enough as he outlined his position in a press conference after a meeting with President Medvedev. What were his conditions? Have they been met?

O'Neill said...

Keith,

Spot on! Bit more on the Alands here:http://tinyurl.com/uy6bx. It was a Finn colleague who originally told me about this (I think it might have been mentioned in The Guardian last week). He took it as a matter of great national shame and was worried in case it would be used as evidence of Finnish "europhobia". I think I'll send him the UKIP's June manifesto and a sample of the Daily mail to reassure him!

O'Neill said...

Chekov,

He's a strange one, a self-confessed Atlanticist sharing his inner-most thoughts with Medvedev.

Has he managed to secure any kind of opt-out from Brussels? Probably not otherwise he would be broadcasting it from the rooftops. I think his position is greatly weakened by the fact that the Czech parliament is in favour, so I can't imgine he can hold out that much longer

Keith Ruffles said...

O'Neill,

It's amazing what a quick search on Google will throw up!

Thanks for the heads up, had no idea that the Alands might prove such a stumbling block to Lisbon. Strange days indeed!