Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an EU Head of State and current President of the European Council, has been dealt another vicious insult by the European Parliament. Speaking before the plenary session in Brussels yesterday, he criticized the juggernaut of EU integration and the democratic deficit felt between the EU and its citizens. He questioned the value of the Lisbon Treaty which proposes to transfer vast powers from member states to the European Union, and which has already been rejected by Ireland in a free and fair referendum.
In a diplomatic insult to a democratically elected head of state, some MEP’s walked out of the chamber. Last December, Daniel Cohn-Bendit MEP ambushed President Klaus at the Presidential castle, producing an EU flag and forcefully taking the President to task on a number of issues including the Lisbon Treaty and climate change. At the time, President Klaus remarked that he hadn’t been spoken like that since Communism fell.
President Klaus is of course right that the EU lacks both credibility and legitimacy as a political entity. In a series of referenda across Europe, several nations have rejected integrationist treaties such as Maastricht, Nice and the European Constitution, only to see them introduced regardless. The currently pending Lisbon Treaty represents fundamental constitutional changes for Europe and contains the building block of a United States of Europe. The Irish people should take note of President Klaus’s comments when they are asked to vote in a second referendum later this year. It should also know that it is not alone either – neither President Klaus nor Polish President Lech Kaczynski have formally ratified the Lisbon Treaty.