Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Czech Senate approves the Lisbon Treaty

The final vote was 54-20-5, with 2 senators absent. Approved. President Klaus, who said that he was sorry that several senators have abandoned their moral integrity, surrendered to the pressure, and changed their opinions, won't sign the treaty before the Constitutional Court evaluates the new complaint about it - and as long as Ireland's official position is "No" which means that the treaty is dead. Below, some older events from the proceedings are summarized.
In a few hours, the Czech Senate is going to vote about The Treaty of Lisbon. If they get stuck in infinite discussions, the vote will be postponed to tomorrow.

To pass, the treaty requires at least 60% of the senators who are present in the room to vote Yes. If all 81 senators are present, the treaty needs 49 votes. If 80 senators are there, 48 is enough, and so on.

The social democrats, Christian democrats, and some quasi-independent pro-EU democrats are going to endorse the document. Their explanation is that the country has to uncritically endorse any document that has been approved elsewhere. The communists are going to vote against the document because of the old anti-Western sentiments that they haven't changed since the Cold War. Both the Yes camp and the No camp have one exception that will vote in the opposite way: they cancel.

So the only party that is actually thinking about the consequences of the treaty for our present world is the center-right Civic Democratic Party, the strongest group in the Senate. The party is split. About 5 senators have declared their clear intent to vote Yes although none of them is enthusiastic about it. A few others are inclined to vote Yes while many others vigorously say No. Approximately 7 Yes senators from this party are needed for the treaty to pass. So the Yes result is somewhat "more likely than not".




Independently of the vote, the Czech Senate is readying a new complaint against the treaty for the Constitutional Court. President Klaus, whose signature is needed, has revealed that he wouldn't sign the document as long as another country is vetoing the document because the document must be considered dead if there exists a country that has rejected it. This attitude means he will only sign it if another referendum in Ireland changes their opinion from No to Yes.

Some semi-formalities summarized by the presidential signatures are also preventing the process from completion in Poland and Germany.

The senators are under a certain pressure. For example, Danny the Red, an obnoxious green communist from the 1968 Paris barricades who currently leads the Green Party in the EU, has declared that the Yes votes are going to be bought... by President Klaus himself (WTF!).

His is a typical Stalinist approach to democracy. Whoever disagrees with "the Party" (in this case, the Green Party) has to be besmirched and eliminated. I am happy that we have removed the infinitely power-thirsty political garbage from top politics back in 1989 and I don't want to allow similar garbage that is incompatible with freedom and democracy to return where it has once been.

It is true that some decisions are sometimes - although rarely - found to be affected by bribes but it is simply unacceptable to propagate such accusations without any evidence and against one selected camp only. Incidentally, most people who have been found to be bribed have been on Cohn-Bendit's side - they have been strikingly similar to him, politically and otherwise. If someone were buying deputies, they would be the cheaper choice, too.

Proceedings

Outgoing PM Topolánek gave a nice and balanced speech. He summarized the minuses and pluses of the treaty. Both votes - Yes and No - will bring us negatives and we should carefully compare them.

The minuses were similar to those summarized by Klaus, and many more. The pluses were less transparent but he said something, too. He wants to save us from another tragedy - and the f**king socialists' no-confidence vote was a more serious tragedy than any vote about the treaty.

His conclusion - a clear plus - was strange given his mostly negative testimony about the treaty. But he has spent some time with it...

Some speeches were not too important. The communist who will vote Yes has explained that the European Union is a good enough communist organization for him, so he wants to give it more power. It makes sense. Some center-right senators confirmed the point - but rejecting the treaty would be similar to our rejection of the Marshall plan ;-) so he will ultimately vote Yes.

Another center-right senator, Mr Jiří Pospíšil (ODS), who opposes the treaty (and who offers a lot of great ideas, even though he is not a stellar speaker) has explained that they're already talking about a treaty that has already been killed twice, and that Topolának's arguments should be naturally followed by a No vote. He said that the EU seems to be a society where talking must continue until the "right" result emerges. He knows such a society (he means our communist past) and he doesn't wish Europe to be such a society. He said that the "European values" in the documents are empty clichés that don't materially differ from "non-European values" and someone must decide how to interpret these clichés - which gives some pre-determined bureaucrats a huge power. He says that subsidiarity can be easily circumvented because what is the "lowest level where a problem can be solved" will be decided by the highest levels. ;-)

He rephrased some comments of some Lisbon advocates: the EU is a society that throws everyone who says "No" to the mouth of the Russian bear. Do we really want to live in Europe following these principles?

Mr Jiří Oberfalzer (ODS), another opponent of the treaty, added some arguments. He said that the EU accession referendum didn't allow the politicians to change the EU rules arbitrarily: it was about the accession to EU working according to the rules at that time. Oberfalzer said that reality, not just superficial ideas and support, matter, taking communist festivals as a bad example. Oberfalzer appreciated Topolánek's speech but explained that their conclusions differ. He took various points of the outgoing PM, like the desire of the big old members to increase their influence, but he derived different conclusions. Sarkozy was discussed in some detail - that he wants to control the whole Europe but when it comes e.g. to the car-scrapping subsidies, he only wants the French producers to benefit. The deputy is scared by the ostracization of the "other" opinions, and so am I.

Mr Jiří Dienstbier, an ex-dissident, argues that they must vote Yes because smart people have dedicated a lot of time to it. What a reason! Also, the transfer of the power to Brussels is no loss of sovereignty - it's just a realization of a mature nation that it can't live separately. :-) (I can't believe he's serious - it sounds as a joke.) Dienstbier thinks that Klaus is illogical when he waits for the Irish opinions and talks about sovereignty - because Ireland is so far. (But the fact that Dienstbier is doing the same thing with other nations doesn't seem to matter.)

Ms Jana Juřenčáková, the only pro-EU independent who is against the treaty, enumerated some people who are against. She argued that it's wrong in democracy to threaten someone with punishment if he disagrees.

Mr Jaroslav Kubera (ODS) said that he just returned from Lisbon (a parody to our first communist president who just "returned from the Castle"). He described the mess in Portugal, rent regulation of ugly buildings, disagreement with the treaty by the majority etc. Kubera described the words of the two commies - Cohn-Bendit, called "bandit" in our country, who talked about the bribes by the Czech President, and by Jo-Leinen, called "Lenin" or "container Joe" because of his role in the communist student revolutions in the 1960s. These communist guys have done a lot of Stalinist intimidation against the democratic guys in Czechia and elsewhere. He added a testimony of a pregnant female deputy who was stalked and terrorized by a fanatically pro-European fat sweating German politician. Scary stories.

Mr Petr Pakosta (ODS) complained that his colleague gives long speeches. But he opposed the treaty, too, and explained that the Czech legal system is not ready and many things that should have been done haven't been done. The treaty is the constitution that ws rejected in the door and is returning through the window. The proponents are ignoring the rules that should apply to everyone. Instead, people are being threatened. But the EU constitution was rejected by the French and the Dutchmen. What happened? Nothing. Maybe the EU works along Terence's dictum, "Quod licet iovi, non licet bovi." (What is allowed to the Jupiter/God, is not allowed to the oxen.) Is it still democracy? And so on.

Mr Jaromír Jermář (ČSSD) quoted Ms Bobošíková, an anti-Lisbon MEP, and attempted to be peaceful. He referred to TGM, the first president of Czechoslovakia, but the consequences of his short speech for the treaty were not readable.

Mr Karel Schwarzenberg, senator and outgoing minister of foreign affairs and an Austrian aristocrat (who is obviously pro-Lisbon), said that the treaty was important. He correctly said that the big countries have always been more powerful than the smaller ones so there's nothing new here. However, he believes that the EU has made these relations between the countries more civilized and respectful. Schwarzenberg thinks that the Czech deputies could easily compete in the number of impolite proclamations with the European politicians quoted by Mr Kubera. Schwarzenberg thinks that they can easily reject the treaty. Tomorrow in the morning, Brussels will send no tanks, just Schwarzenberg will wake up with some hangover. But do you know what it means to be isolated in the continental Europe, he asks? ... He's great but his German accent and background will probably make a disservice to the Yes camp. ... Schwarzenberg politely begged the senators to vote Yes, also in order to help the new countries to join the EU. ... Applause.

Mr Pavel Sušický (ODS) mentioned that the vjavascript:void(0)oters of ODS were mostly pro-Lisbon while other voters were not interested. The situation is getting balanced. Among the politicians, it was the other way around: ODS is mostly anti-Lisbon while others criticize it. The explanation of this paradox is that the antagonism of the camps is nonsensical and artificial. Sušický challenged Havel's oversimplified comments about the treaties. To improve our name, he slightly prefers Yes. That will also save us from a new not-quite-iron curtain.

Mr Rostislav Slavotínek (Christian Democrats) says that it makes no sense to repeat any arguments. ;-) It's more important for him that all Christian Democrats will vote Yes, in order to be a constructive EU member. And maybe even God agrees. He mentions some questions of his Scandinavian friends why did we screw the success by the no-confidence vote. Well, it was not "us" who screwed it - it was our socialist pigs. ;-) He thinks that Yes will improve our and EU ratings. A typical example of the emptiness of the Yes advocates.

Ms Liana Janáčková (independent) is also a mayor (with a lot of gypsies in her city etc.). She says that it has been absolutely frustrating for her to be elected, but to lose the political power. Using this analogy, she has no doubt that she has to vote No.

Decades ago, Mr Jaromír Štětina (independent) drank some alcohol with Russian generals who promised him to liberate us from the German yoke. He recalled this story recently because he exchanged some opinions with President Klaus. Meanwhile, as communism ended in Russia, Štětina became an anti-Russian warrior. ;-) He thinks that Russia is no normal country, because of a few examples. In his opinion, No means "pro-Russia", so he must vote Yes.

The chairman asked everyone not to comment on glasses forgotten by other deputies. :-)

Mr Miroslav Škaloud (ODS) says that most of the discussion is about the circumstances, not about the essence of the treaty. Outgoing PM was focusing on the essence and Škaloud adds many details about the changes written in the treaty. Whether he votes Yes or No remained slightly unclear to me. But his systematic explanations suggest that he considers the further centralization of diplomatic, military (overlap with NATO!), and other things to be irreversible, unnecessary, or counterproductive. He warned against the contamination of the primary legal system by postmodern left-wing ideology, e.g. by anti-discrimination policies that may be interpreted "maximally". The room for political competition would drop etc. He adds some general anti-socialist, anti-regulation insights. Negative things beat the positive aspects in these contexts, much like in the codification of the European Court's activism. He adds some evidence that the European laws may be put above the national constitutions.

Mr Jiří Pospíšil (ODS) spoke again - about discrimination of people above 54 which is legal, according to some bizarre decisions of EU and German courts, unlike the discrimination against the young people. ;-) He also sketches some strange procedures how the EU representatives will speak in the U.N. He adds some comments that sound as jokes: normal occupying powers used to be satisfied if we were not active against them. Now we're expected to uncritically, universally, and actively support the EU foreign policies. Such a thing has never succeeded. After all, Europe would have to decide which direction it is going to shoot into, anyway. Pospíšil is debunking some threats. For example, he wants to know which country is going to ostracize us and give us to the Russian bear. Greece, Ireland, Poland? ;-) What happened to Denmark and the Netherlands after their No votes? Nothing. They got their exceptions and everything went OK. So whoever tells us about the new threats should also say who is the bad guy of Europe who is going to discriminate against us because of our opinion. He recalls how quickly even the ostracization of Austria - because of Heider - evaporated. He doesn't believe the threats and those who do should tell us the details.

Ms Alena Gajdůšková (ČSSD, a vice-chairwoman of the Senate) praises the outgoing PM for presenting the Yes and No arguments. She had prepared two different talks: one about the details and another one filled with the threats. ;-) She could also reply to some questions. However, she decided to give none of these talks because it's useless (or because she has no idea what she could say). Instead, she said a few general emotional things about forgiveness that have clearly nothing to do with the treaty per se. She presented the treaty as a result of 20 years of work. There's been a lot of time but the debate is over. Wow. The [socialist] values are so important for the social democrats so that they have to vote Yes, even though the leaders of the center-right coalition also says Yes. She hopes that other will say Yes, too. So stupid...

Mr Jiří Žák (ODS) agrees with PM Topolánek. He thinks that both Yes and No will lead to a EU collapse sometime in the future. Both answers are wrong, too. Yes is a return to real socialism of the 1960s, No is a return to 1977. The ratification should have been stopped after the Irish No - and the second referendum shouldn't have been planned. He won't vote.

Mr Oberfalzer speaks again. After the discussion, he thinks that Czechia is a country of Euro-midges (a similar word in Czech as "Euro-sober", which he used for himself). He doesn't want to be in a club where it's impossible to say Yes or No. Veto is becoming a nasty word. But it is a tool that can do both good and bad things - a tool we still have. Others say that "No is not allowed because no further No's would be allowed". He thinks that this threat is being engineered in Czechia. He describes their group that will challenge the treaty again, in the Constitutional Court.

Mr Vítězslav Jonáš (ODS) appreciates the discussion. He realizes that he won't change Europe but he decided to vote No. He seems to be the last debater.

Outgoing vice-PM Mr Alexandr Vondra (ODS), an ex-dissident, makes a pro-Yes summary. He thinks that the discussion shows that we are not Euro-midgets, after all. ;-)

Alexandr Vondra boasts that the Euro-banana bill is no longer valid! During the Czech EU presidency, decades of work of classical liberal people in Europe became victorious and the curvature radius of bananas in the EU is no longer constrained to belong to an interval. :-) [Congratulations. One million of similar bills are still waiting to be abolished.]

He says more serious things, claiming that everything has been solved etc. Vondra adds comments that the treaty gives us room to do good things again etc. After 10 Yes arguments, he could also say 10 or 11 No arguments. He won't do it because it's time to decide and not wiggle in the wind.

Mr Luděk Sefzig (ODS, the Senate EU Committee boss) praises their exceptional Senate, the discussion, and the arguments in favor of Yes and especially the dominant arguments in favor of No. ;-)
The most recent poll by the public TV shows that the public is split, exactly 50-50.

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