Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 11:22 UK

Czech leader positive on Lisbon

Czech President Vaclav Klaus
President Klaus' opt-out demand was unexpected

Czech President Vaclav Klaus is satisfied an EU proposal meets demands he made for an opt-out on the bloc's Lisbon Treaty, his office says.

Mr Klaus wanted an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights which covers EU citizens' rights.

He was concerned the charter could allow property claims by Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II to circumvent courts.

The Czech Constitutional Court is also reviewing a challenge to the treaty.

It is aimed at streamlining the 27-member EU's decision making.

Creates new post of EU president (President of European Council)
New post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs
More decisions by majority vote, rather than unanimity
Ratified by all member states except Czech Republic
Only Ireland held referendum on it - twice ('Yes' vote second time)
Took a decade of negotiations
Was intended to take effect in January 2009

The treaty incorporates the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which covers a wide range of EU citizens' rights and will become legally binding once Lisbon enters into force.

That cannot happen unless all 27 member states ratify the treaty.

The Czech parliament has already approved the treaty, but Mr Klaus is the only EU leader yet to sign it.

His opt-out demand, made on 9 October, was unexpected and raised concerns about yet further delays to the treaty.

However, his office said on Friday: "The president... received the Swedish presidency's proposal which is a response to his request related to the Lisbon Treaty ratification in the Czech Republic.

"This proposal corresponds to what the president has envisioned and it is possible to work with it further."

Details of the proposal were not released.

Mr Klaus has previously said he will not sign the treaty until the Czech Constitutional Court rules on a new legal complaint against it, lodged by senators allied to him.

A court hearing is due next week.

Poland was the last country to fully ratify the treaty on 10 October, when President Lech Kaczynski finally signed it in a ceremony.

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