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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Czech leader seeks EU referendum
Czech President Vaclav Klaus
President Klaus: "People must decide freely"
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has called for a referendum in his country on the EU constitution, which he opposes.

Mr Klaus described the constitution as "a revolutionary document which will change everyone's lives".

He said he hoped the Czech people would get the chance to decide on ratification. The constitution is aimed at streamlining the EU's institutions.

Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has called for a referendum to coincide with a general election in June 2006.

Mr Klaus was speaking at the launch of a book which is critical of the constitution. It is a translation of a study by an Irish research institution - the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre.

He wrote the introduction to the book, but he has rejected accusations that he is launching a campaign against the treaty.

"People must decide freely, even if some will order them to shut up," he said.

The Czech Republic could be one of the last EU members to vote on the constitution, observers say.

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