Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cautious relief in press on Lisbon

Czech President Vaclav Klaus
A grim-faced President Klaus said he had signed the treaty

Many European papers express relief a day after the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, signed the EU's Lisbon Treaty - ending a tortuous process of ratification.

The treaty was drawn up to streamline decision-making in the EU, but some commentators wonder how likely it is to end institutional wrangling among member states.


The Tories remain committed to repatriating substantial powers from Brussels and are likely to want to use the Croatian accession treaty, already seen as a vehicle for the Irish guarantees and the Czech opt-out, to seek specific opt-outs for the UK from social policy provisions of EU law. Sadly, it seems, even before the ink is dry on Lisbon, the promise that its enactment should put an end to constitutional/institutional wrangling in the EU for a generation appears wishful thinking. Not a happy prospect.


It would be desirable if the British Conservatives, too, were now to acknowledge the normative force of what is a point of fact... In internal horse-trading, their leader [David] Cameron had advocated holding a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon. We would not really like to believe that he will keep this promise once the treaty has long been in force. If Cameron were to do so, he would not be welcome any more in many European capitals; he will have to live up to his responsibility.


Yet another sigh of relief was heard in Europe yesterday ... [Current President of the European Council and Swedish] Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt deserves praise for the way in which he resolved the confusion of recent times ... The price was that the Czech Republic was granted an opt-out from the EU's new Charter of Fundamental Rights at the EU summit last week, as Poland and the United Kingdom had earlier been. It is certainly strange and petty that three countries leave themselves out of such an important part of the EU partnership.


Let's hope the outcome of the battle [over the Lisbon Treaty] will save at least the remnants of our credibility and predictability in the eyes of Europe... The last round of the battle showed it was a battle of beliefs rather than rational arguments... The Czech Euro-sceptics previously called themselves Euro-realists and labelled Euro-optimists as Euro-fanatics. This enabled them to promote their belief using methods far beyond what was appropriate.


The European Union will be more of a "state" and have more authority to sign agreements with other countries. In that new scenario Spain, which assumes the presidency in 2010, will play a key role because it will have to lay the foundations of the new political and executive system... The treaty, moreover, will face its baptism of fire in the economic crisis paralysing the current EU.


The Lisbon Treaty is likely to come into force on 1 December. This means that from now on everything should move very quickly. It is urgent for the European Union to provide itself with the structural resources to demonstrate its presence to the rest of the world and to ensure that the EU is not an economic complex but a political reality able to influence big world debates.

Michel Lepinay in PARIS NORMANDIE

Here we are at last. Europe has managed to provide itself with new institutions. The Europeans have managed to pick up the thread of their future. This is no small thing for 27 [countries to achieve] and Nicolas Sarkozy can take pride in having played a paramount role in this success. The future in question, however, is not necessarily bright for all that ... There are no doubt as many problems ahead as behind. First, Europe has to choose a "permanent" president.


After nearly eight years of gestation and one failed attempt, the destiny of the project for reforming Europe's institutions... is about to be fulfilled.


Now the new Europe can take wing, at least on paper, and ready itself for new candidacies, in the first instance those of Croatia and Iceland, the two countries at the top of the waiting list for EU entry.


The circumvention of public opinion on the treaty and Vaclav Klaus's demonstration that one man alone is able keep the bloc in a stalemate has torn down any romantic impressions about democracy in the EU.


Europe can now breathe easily... With the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty it will become significantly easier to find shared solutions to climate problems, globalisation and international co-operation.

BBC Monitoringselects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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