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Interview of President Václav Klaus for Rzeczpospolita

English Pages, 26. 7. 2008

Has President Kaczynski convinced you to ratify the Lisbon Treaty?

President Kaczyński did not try to convince me about the beauty of the Lisbon Treaty. My views in this respect are firm and they can’t be changed.

What would be your reaction if president Kaczynski finally signed the document?

I would accept it without blinking an eye. It is his right to do it and I would never dare to criticize him. Neither publicly, nor privately.

Will you sign the Lisbon Treaty? Some Czech politicians are saying you should do it because otherwise you would act against the Czech Constitution which means you would act against the national interests...

The Czech national interests – when you use this term – tell me that I should never sign the Lisbon Treaty.

You said that you personally thanked some Irish people for saying "NO" to the Lisbon Treaty. Do Europe, EU and the Europeans need a document like Lisbon Treaty at all?

Such a document is unnecessary for the standard functioning of the EU (including further enlargements) and is detrimental to freedom and democracy in Europe in the future.

You were joking that while in hospital you could write a new European treaty yourself. What could we find in it? What would be the most important issue?

The most important issue would be the return to intergovernmentalism and unanimity of decision-making. The return from “Union” to “Community”.

You do not like to be called the European. You are against European bureaucracy. Now you are also against "Europe a'la France”. Why?

I am European (as one of my identity marks) but this feeling is not a very strong one. It is – e.g. – much weaker than the feeling of being a Central European or a Slav. I am “now” not against Europe “à la France”. I am against tendencies to “ever-closer Europe” and against socialization of Europe. These tendencies are now clearly visible in French ambitions during their presidency of the EU.

In 2009 Czech Republic will be the president of EU. Would you like all EU members to be unanimous then? What will be the most important for you during the presidency?

I don’t have many ambitions when it comes to the presidency. It is just a formal role, not a real one. The comparison of German and Slovenian presidencies demonstrates it quite clearly.

The presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic stand shoulder to shoulder today as far as EU is concerned. Can we expect a new kind of Polish-Czech alliance? What can we do together in EU?

I will always be very pleased to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the Polish president. The term “alliance” is, however, too strong. I don’t believe the citizens of both our countries are eager to do it.

Poland and Czech Republic are also allies of US and both of them are talking with Washington about American missile shield. Do you think this issue may harm the relations of Poland and Czech with EU? Isn't it like that that both countries may be perceived as American Trojan Horses in Europe?

The genuine interests of both our countries in positive relations with the US are so strong that the reactions of some “anti-American” EU politicians are not considered so important.

There are signals that Czech parliament may not ratify the missile shield agreement. It may happen so? Or are you sure that ratification process will end positively?

It is too early to say but I expect the parliament will ratify it.

The Czech Republic has already finished negotiations with Washington on the missile shield. What would you propose to Poland which is still negotiating with Americans? What Poland should do?

No proposal. I am sure the Poles know what they are doing.

Katarzyna Zuchowicz, Rzeczpospolita, 26th July 2008


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