Thursday, October 08, 2009

Klaus will sign Lisbon for a footnote

Update: Polish EU Parliament boss Buzek argues that Klaus wants a Czech opt-out right for the Bill of Rights: see his new statement. It's been previously speculated by Polish newspapers that Klaus's proposed footnote is meant to guarantee that the Sudeten German material claims can't ever be revived, not even by people from other EU countries who don't know the Central European history well and who could make such a big mistake to try to revise our key legislation concerning the 1945 confiscation of assets of Germans except for antifascists. Well, even if that's true, it doesn't mean that this topic is Klaus's only or main point. I still feel that it's a randomly chosen topic meant to split the EU and defeat the treaty at the end.
The Swedes have created a Facebook group, Support Václav Klaus, and a related anti-Lisbon petition with 5,000+ signatures (now).

Finally, you can see a EU flag waving at the Prague CastleI have always thought that the Czech president is a kind of an ingenious politician. He believes in great ideas and principles and he is courageous enough to defend them. However, as far as I understand, he's also playing politics like chess and he's often able to defeat seemingly stronger and more numerous foes.

After the Irish "Yes", the Polish and Czech presidents remained the last two EU political institutions blocking the disgraceful pact. It is not clear whether Polish president Lech Kaczynski will sign the Treaty of Lisbon soon. His spokesman said that the president would sign it on Sunday. However, the president's twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, arguably knows much more about the situation (the twins are very close to one another) and he has announced that Lech wouldn't sign the treaty on Sunday and that journalists shouldn't believe gossip.

Do you think that one of these two politicians knows about the other politician's plans for the weekend more accurately than the other politician's spokesman? ;-) Well, the correct answer could be "Saturday" but it could be "much later or never", too.

At any rate, it may be expected that the Czech president will be the more stubborn and more creative among the two Gentlemen. I hope that you understand that the pledges by Czech prime minister Mr Jan Fischer that Klaus will sign it before the New Year are just inconsequential noise designed to calm down gullible Euronaivists because Fischer is no spokesman for Klaus. Most of the British Tories would like to rely on a delay, win the U.K. elections before early June 2010, and add a U.K. referendum as a condition for the U.K. ratification of the treaty. Its result would probably be "No."

Clearly, it can't be guaranteed that Klaus will be able to resist for several months - and he can't promise the British Eurosceptics that he will be successful. He has never done so. There will be various pressures and some people may even try to dethrone him. On the other hand, he certainly wants to kill the planned pact. How would you try to achieve such a goal if you were the Czech president?

I've been asking this question for several days. But I wasn't able to find something as creative as President Klaus. Now he told the Swedish EU presidency that he will sign the treaty if a new two-sentence footnote is added to the treaty - to its Charter of Rights, the part of the treaties that has been supplemented by the densest conglomerate of outrageous PC leftist ideology.

(Czechia already has a kind of sovereign right to create exemptions from the EU Charter of rights, see page 449 of the consolidated treaty.)

The Swedish prime minister thinks that it would be a footnote defining some special new exemptions for Czechia, analogous to the exemptions that exist for Poland and Britain. Well, I haven't seen the footnote but my guess is that the Swedish prime minister isn't able to think about politics sufficiently deeply - that he's a weak chess player.

I actually think that the footnote won't be related to any particular Czech issue.

It will be more universal in its character, it will be somewhat innocent, and its content won't matter much. I think that the point is that the footnote would have to be approved at least by the EU Council (and who knows, maybe even a new Irish referendum). But even an innocent footnote will split this group. Some of them will say "No way, Klaus has no right to add new delays or modify the treaty" while a few of them will say "Why not, it's a great chance to pay a small price and put the treaty to life - and a president must surely have the right to add at least a footnote, as long as we're a democracy."

As a result, the consensus of the pro-Lisbon camp will evaporate, new delays and discussions about various important as well as unimportant questions will emerge, and Klaus will transfer the responsibility for terminating the pact to others - the EU council and maybe the U.K. allies - while he'll be credited as the exclusive savior of Europe from the pact, at least in the future Czech history textbooks. In the near future, we will see whether my guess is correct. But I think it's a pretty ingenious move that could lead to a Czech-mate. Klaus is probably several moves ahead of me, anyway. ;-)

In fact, I even think that Klaus has carefully designed the footnote so that the EU Council will be split rather evenly, and he may have been even microscopically calculating the reactions of the individual EU Council members in order to optimize his strategy. :-)

He surely knows that France will say that the treaty is a holy dogma, regardless of the content of the footnote, but he has surely thought about the remaining 25 countries and leaders, too. But the plan may already contain the expectation that Germany - afraid of regaining the image of our imperial oppressor that we know from the history - will look at the footnote. ;-) In my opinion, the average EU politicians still don't understand whom they're facing. No surprise that they're astonished if their political careers have been made out of parroting of empty politically correct clichés.

And you know, the creativity required to win against brute force has increased dramatically since those times when David defeated Goliath or the Hussites defeated the more numerous Germans.

Of course, Klaus may also want to demand a non-trivial footnote that significantly changes the content or the validity of the treaty. Well, such things are usually not written in the footnotes. If this were the case, it would mean that Klaus is determined to fight against the treaty to the very end, in very transparent terms. Two sentences are unlikely to fix all Klaus's (and our) complaints against the treat, unless they say "By the way, the treaty is just a joke. Don't take anything seriously." :-)

That's also plausible but I still think that the scenario with an "innocent footnote" is more likely. On the other hand, it is plausible that the real "trick" will be different than people will think. One thing should be clear to you: the Treaty of Lisbon is not (officially) in Klaus's agenda so we will only learn about the content of the footnote after the Czech Constitutional Court decides about the complaint. He still has a month or so to optimize what the footnote should say. ;-)

BTW, the Swedish PM says that the treaty has been approved by the Czech Parliament, so Klaus has to follow because the Parliament represents the Czech nation. That's an entertaining argument because Klaus's approval rate is at 70% while the Parliament's approval rate is at 27%.

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