Final Word from Monday, September 6, 2004

Václav Klaus finally said something out loud that he's been hinting at for months: That he won't sign the EU constitution. He told Czech Radio in Feb. that he'd be taking more interest in international treaties. Yesterday he told TV Nova that he'll let someone else sign the EU treaty. What he didn't say is that he alone has the authority under the Czech constitution to ratify treaties. Changing this would require a constitutional amendment, which might be impossible to push through Parliament. Given this, his comment will perhaps come to be seen as a threat to block the EU constitution unless the terms of the referendum on the treaty satisfy him and his former party. ODS is in a bind. Its voters are pro-EU, but the party itself is against the EU constitution. Stanislav Gross wants to combine the referendum with the 2006 general elections. Klaus surely understands that this would hurt ODS's chances, and he came to the rescue yesterday. European Union

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