The parliament will finally decide on the Lisbon Treaty

1. How does the future of the EU after the Irish ‘No’ look like?

 

If we look at the polit­i­cal dis­course in the coun­try, the long term con­se­quences of the prob­lems of rat­i­fy­ing the Lis­bon Treaty are dis­cussed only to a lim­it­ed degree. Since the Czech Repub­lic has not yet rat­i­fied the treaty, the debate is still pri­mar­i­ly about whether to rat­i­fy it or not. It is fore­most the crit­ics of the treaty that active­ly stress that the treaty would rad­i­cal­ly change the EU. The advo­cates, on the oth­er hand, tend to empha­sise that the treaty will improve the func­tion­ing of the EU with­out pro­vid­ing any rad­i­cal changes.[1] In the aca­d­e­m­ic debate, some of the think tanks have engaged in more long term reflec­tions on what could be the con­se­quences of a fail­ure to rat­i­fy the Lis­bon Treaty, if, for instance, it could open the door to an EU based on flex­i­ble integration.[2]

In the Czech Repub­lic the fate of the Irish rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Lis­bon Treaty has been await­ed with great inter­est since this has become impor­tant also for the Czech rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the treaty. Pres­i­dent Václav Klaus has argued that he will not rat­i­fy the treaty before the Irish have decid­ed on the issue.[3] The con­clu­sions of the Decem­ber 2008 Euro­pean Coun­cil might even, if only to a lim­it­ed degree, be help­ful also for the Czech Rat­i­fi­ca­tion. Dur­ing the nego­ti­a­tions on both the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Treaty and the Lis­bon Treaty, it has been wide­ly demand­ed that the Czech Repub­lic should be allowed to keep its com­mis­sion­er. There­fore, it seems that the change that would allow each mem­ber state to have its own com­mis­sion­er beyond 2014 at least would not have a neg­a­tive impact on the like­li­hood of the Czech Ratification.[4] Fur­ther­more, the Czech gov­ern­ment has wel­comed the Irish demands for legal guar­an­tees regard­ing tax neu­tral­i­ty in rela­tion to the Lis­bon Treaty, and Prime Min­is­ter Topolánek has argued that such guar­an­tees should be bind­ing for all countries.[5]

The most well known Czech crit­ic of the Lis­bon Treaty, how­ev­er, Pres­i­dent Václav Klaus, has con­demned the non-sys­tem­at­ic way of chang­ing what was decid­ed in the treaty, even if he, in prin­ci­ple, is not against the “one coun­try, one com­mis­sion­er” principle.[6] There­fore, the out­come of the Decem­ber 2008 Euro­pean Coun­cil has not changed his opin­ion on the treaty, and it is debat­able what impact the Irish deal can have on the mem­bers of the the mem­bers of the upper cham­ber, who still have not vot­ed on the treaty. In the Cham­ber of Deputies the treaty was final­ly accept­ed after sev­er­al delays in Feb­ru­ary 2009.

The Czech Repub­lic, as the pre­sid­ing coun­try of the EU, is in a pecu­liar posi­tion since the coun­try will have to lead the nego­ti­a­tions with Ire­land regard­ing the details of the deal that should be the base for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum in the coun­try, but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the treaty is not yet secured in the Czech Repub­lic. Since the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court in Novem­ber stat­ed that the Lis­bon Treaty, at least in the points the Court analysed, is not in con­tra­dic­tion with the Czech Con­sti­tu­tion, it seems that it will be sole­ly a polit­i­cal ques­tion whether to rat­i­fy the treaty. How­ev­er, the court dealt only with a spe­cif­ic num­ber of ques­tions that had been spec­i­fied by the Sen­ate, and even if it seems unlike­ly, it can­not be ruled out that either a group of MPs, sen­a­tors or the pres­i­dent will put a new request to the Court with sub­stan­tial­ly dif­fer­ent ques­tions regard­ing the com­pat­i­bil­i­ty of the Lis­bon Treaty and the Czech Constitution.[7]

The Cham­ber of Deputies should have vot­ed on the treaty in Decem­ber at the ini­tia­tive of the Social Democ­rats, but the vote was post­poned until Feb­ru­ary since the treaty pro­po­nents were uncer­tain as to whether they would man­age to get the nec­es­sary 3/5 major­i­ty in favour of the treaty.[8] In the end the treaty received the sup­port of 127 of the 200 mem­bers of the low­er cham­ber. The MPs who sup­port­ed the rat­i­fi­ca­tion were the ones from the biggest oppo­si­tion par­ty, the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, the two minor coali­tion par­ties in the cur­rent gov­ern­ing coali­tion, the Chris­t­ian Democ­rats and the Greens, and parts of the major gov­ern­ing par­ty, the Civic Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (ODS). How­ev­er, a frac­tion of the ODS (34 of 76 the party’s MPs) vot­ed against the treaty.[9] The par­ty con­ven­tion of the ODS called for a deal that would be based on a trade-off with the Social Democ­rats. The part of the ODS scep­ti­cal of the Lis­bon Treaty, which might be more cru­cial in the Sen­ate than in the Cham­ber of Deputies, would sup­port it in exchange for a Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port of the US radar base (a part of the US antimis­sile sys­tem) planned to be built in the Czech Republic.[10] The Sen­ate has post­poned the vot­ing on the Lis­bon Treaty and in March 2009 it was still uncer­tain when this would take place.[11]

In the after­math of the debates on the Lis­bon Treaty, one new polit­i­cal par­ty has been formed in the Czech Repub­lic. The Civic Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (ODS) strug­gled with inter­nal dis­putes part­ly as a con­se­quence of the party’s recent­ly more EU friend­ly approach. At the party’s con­ven­tion the party’s for­mer strong man and founder, the cur­rent pres­i­dent Václav Klaus, left the par­ty. Petr Mach, who is the chair of the think tank at the Cen­ter for Pol­i­tics and Econ­o­my, which was found­ed by Václav Klaus in 1998, there­after found­ed a euroscep­tic polit­i­cal par­ty; the Par­ty of Free Cit­i­zens. Among the founders of the par­ty, there are sev­er­al per­sons who are close to Klaus: three cur­rent mem­bers of the Cham­ber of Deputies from the ODS have declared that they sup­port this new par­ty, and among the founders of the par­ty are also one of Klaus’ advi­sors as well as both his sons.[12] Lib­er­tas will also be a can­di­date in the elec­tion to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in the Czech Repub­lic. It is so far lit­tle known who will actu­al­ly be the can­di­date for Lib­er­tas, but the con­tro­ver­sial for­mer direc­tor of the pri­vate TV chan­nel, Nova, and cur­rent MEP, Vladimír Železný, is one of the per­sons behind the reg­is­tra­tion of Lib­er­tas in the Czech Republic.[13]

The rat­i­fi­ca­tion prob­lems of the Lis­bon Treaty have also forced the Czech Pres­i­den­cy to start con­sid­er­ing how the new Com­mis­sion should be formed in autumn. The gov­ern­ment has stat­ed that the pres­i­den­cy is work­ing with two pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios. The first sce­nario is that the Lis­bon Treaty would come into force at the end of 2009 and the old Com­mis­sion would then get an extend­ed man­date until this hap­pens. That would solve the prob­lem of the num­ber of Com­mis­sion­ers in the new Com­mis­sion, since the Lis­bon Treaty post­pones this reduc­tion of Com­mis­sion­ers at least until 2014. The sec­ond sce­nario is that if the Lis­bon Treaty will not come into force dur­ing the autumn, the num­ber of Com­mis­sion­ers will have to be low­ered. There­fore, the Czech gov­ern­ment aims at reach­ing a deal con­cern­ing a reduced num­ber of Com­mis­sion­ers dur­ing the Czech Pres­i­den­cy in case the Lis­bon Treaty can­not come into force. One ver­sion that is dis­cussed is one in which there would be 26 Com­mis­sion­ers and the coun­try with­out a Com­mis­sion­er would, as com­pen­sa­tion, receive the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Com­mon For­eign and Secu­ri­ty Policy.[14]

The Czech gov­ern­ment has not yet expressed any offi­cial view either regard­ing who will be nom­i­nat­ed as the new Czech Com­mis­sion­er or regard­ing which port­fo­lio this per­son ide­al­ly should have. Deputy Prime Min­is­ter for Euro­pean Affairs Alexan­dr Von­dra, how­ev­er, has argued that the Czech Repub­lic should aspire toward any of the fol­low­ing resorts in the new Com­mis­sion: ener­gy, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, envi­ron­ment or exter­nal rela­tions (although the pre­ferred resort is ener­gy). All these pol­i­cy fields are con­sid­ered to be of cru­cial impor­tance to the Czech Republic.[15] The Social Democ­rats want­ed to see the cur­rent Com­mis­sion­er, Vladimír Špid­la, as the elec­tion leader to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, but he declined the offer.[16] The for­mer Prime Min­is­ter might receive the back­ing of the Social Democ­rats if he would attempt to defend his posi­tion in the Com­mis­sion. It is, how­ev­er, unlike­ly that the cur­rent gov­ern­ing coali­tion would sup­port his name, even if it can­not be exclud­ed that such a deal could be made. In Czech news­pa­pers, there have also been spec­u­la­tions about the cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter as a poten­tial new Com­mis­sion­er giv­en the insta­bil­i­ty of the cur­rent gov­ern­ing coalition.[17]

2. Transatlantic relations renewed after President Bush: top priorities

 

Focusing on Obama’s visit

The cur­rent cen­tre-right gov­ern­ment is more ’Atlanti­cist’ in its out­look than the pre­vi­ous one. The biggest par­ty in the coali­tion, the Civic Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (ODS), presents itself as a strong sup­port­er of transat­lantic ties. Small­er coali­tion part­ners – the Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (KDU-ČSL) and the Greens (SZ) – are either affir­ma­tive (KDU-ČSL) or too weak to change the Atlanti­cist shift (SZ). The cur­rent gov­ern­ment still respects the gen­er­al trend and the con­ti­nu­ity of Czech for­eign pol­i­cy as based on ‘two pil­lars’ — mem­ber­ship in the EU and an alliance with the USA.[18] On the oth­er side, there were moments when the Atlanti­cist lean­ing of the gov­ern­ment became evi­dent. The prime exam­ple is the sup­port of the US radar base in the Czech Repub­lic. Also, the Czech gov­ern­ment is quite scep­ti­cal regard­ing the abil­i­ty of the EU to pro­vide ’hard’ secu­ri­ty to its mem­ber states (through the Euro­pean Secu­ri­ty Defence Pol­i­cy (ESDP)). Thus, the EU mem­ber­ship is per­ceived rather as an ’eco­nom­ic pil­lar’, and the strate­gic bond with the USA (either bilat­er­al or mul­ti­lat­er­al with­in the NATO) is seen as vital for the hard secu­ri­ty of the Czech Republic.

Giv­en its Atlanti­cist ori­en­ta­tion, it is not sur­pris­ing that the ’transat­lantic bond’ plays an impor­tant role in the pri­or­i­ties of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment towards (and with­in) the EU. Offi­cial­ly, “the Czech Repub­lic sees as cru­cial Europe’s transat­lantic link with the USA and Cana­da, and the strate­gic part­ner­ship between the North Atlantic Treaty Organ­i­sa­tion (NATO) and the Euro­pean Union”.[19] In this con­text, strong ties, part­ner­ship and coop­er­a­tion between the USA and the EU are seen as indis­pens­able for the ’hard’ secu­ri­ty of the EU in a sim­i­lar way as the part­ner­ship of the USA and the Czech Repub­lic is indis­pens­able for the hard secu­ri­ty of the Czech Repub­lic. Accord­ing to the Czech gov­ern­ment, the con­tem­po­rary part­ner­ship between the USA and the EU is less about secur­ing intra-Euro­pean sta­bil­i­ty and more about secur­ing Europe from exter­nal threats.[20]

The transat­lantic bond between the USA and Europe is seen by the gov­ern­ment as a neces­si­ty —  a strate­gic and geopo­lit­i­cal imper­a­tive caused by Europe’s (Euro­pean pow­ers’) lack of mil­i­tary capac­i­ties, the weak ESDP and also a ’lack of a will to defend itself’ on the side of Europe. A strong transat­lantic bond is an end in itself, and the dis­cus­sion rarely extends beyond gen­er­al procla­ma­tions that ’we need a strong transat­lantic link’.

The pri­or­i­ties of the Czech Pres­i­den­cy are a bit more con­crete than a pub­lic debate on a transat­lantic link between the USA and Europe. “Mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, the Mid­dle East peace process, Afghanistan/Pakistan and rela­tions with Rus­sia” are the top pri­or­i­ties “with­in the transat­lantic dialogue”.[21] Accord­ing to the gov­ern­ment, the renewed transat­lantic dia­logue should focus on these issues. But con­crete (pub­lic) pro­pos­als on how to revi­tal­ize the dia­logue itself and on how to rebuild the con­fi­dence on both sides of the Atlantic are miss­ing. The gov­ern­ment focus­es pri­mar­i­ly on the arrange­ment of the EU-US sum­mit in Prague (the orga­ni­za­tion of this sum­mit is sup­port­ed by the whole polit­i­cal scene).[22] We can illus­trate the point on the case of Guan­tanamo pris­on­ers. Accept­ing these pris­on­ers can be seen as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for an ini­tial ’con­fi­dence build­ing mea­sure’. Despite its pro-Amer­i­can out­look, the Czech gov­ern­ment took a quite cau­tious posi­tion. The Czech For­eign Min­is­ter stressed that “it is up to each nation what they will decide”.[23] So far, there are no signs that the Czech Repub­lic will accept any of the inmates.[24]

It should also be not­ed that the Czech debate about Atlanti­cism and strate­gic ’transat­lantic’ ties with the US is bilat­er­al in its nature. The future of Czech-US rela­tions (the issue of the US radar base) gains much more salience than the ’EU-US’ rela­tions. The Czech dis­cus­sion revolves around the future of the US radar base after Oba­ma’s inau­gu­ra­tion rather than about US-EU coop­er­a­tion. Here, the gov­ern­ment expects the con­tin­u­a­tion of the coop­er­a­tion while the oppo­si­tion Social Democ­rats believe that Oba­ma (con­front­ed with the finan­cial cri­sis) will scrap the plan for the radar base. The Social Democ­rats even called upon Oba­ma to scrap the plans for the radar base, believ­ing that such a step would “sig­nal a new era in the rela­tions between Europe and the USA”.[25]

More­over, the Civic Democ­rats, as the main coali­tion part­ner, treat even the “transat­lantic ties” between Europe and the US as an issue of bilat­er­al ties between the US and EU mem­ber states.  The Czech polit­i­cal scene has quite hap­pi­ly accept­ed Rums­feld’s dis­tinc­tion between the ’old’ and the ’new”’ (US-friend­ly) Europe. The upcom­ing meet­ing with Oba­ma in Prague can be seen as an attempt to recon­firm this spe­cial rela­tion­ship between the US and the new Europe. The Civic Democ­rats (in con­trast to the oppo­si­tion Social Democ­rats) still do not believe in the notion of the EU as a ’polit­i­cal actor’ — a con­sol­i­dat­ed enti­ty which can enter into the ’EU-US’ relationship.[26] This may also be the rea­son for their reluc­tance (inabil­i­ty) to refor­mu­late their gen­er­al call for stronger ’Europe-US’ transat­lantic ties into con­crete pro­pos­als for ’EU-US’ coop­er­a­tion and part­ner­ship on the ground.

3. Financial crisis and challenges of global governance: the EU response

 

State interventions are believed to be harmful

The Czech bank­ing sec­tor has so far remained rather immune to the tur­bu­lence caused by the finan­cial cri­sis, thanks to a more con­ser­v­a­tive approach to loans by Czech banks, which in turn is a con­se­quence of the Czech bank­ing cri­sis in the 1990s. There­fore, the Czech Repub­lic was not seri­ous­ly hit by the first wave of the finan­cial cri­sis. The after­math of the finan­cial cri­sis, how­ev­er, has also affect­ed the Czech econ­o­my, with a slight increase of unem­ploy­ment being the first evidence.

The Czech Pres­i­den­cy has cho­sen the slo­gan ”Europe with­out Bar­ri­ers”, and this is also the Czech recipe for how to deal with the finan­cial cri­sis. The Czech gov­ern­ment warns against pro­tec­tion­ism and oth­er poten­tial inter­ven­tions into the free mar­ket which could arise as a reac­tion to the cur­rent cri­sis. Fur­ther­more, the gov­ern­ment empha­sis­es that the EU coun­tries should not loosen their fis­cal dis­ci­pline as a con­se­quence of cri­sis pack­ages meant to stim­u­late the econ­o­my. Increased bud­get deficits can, accord­ing to the gov­ern­ment, have seri­ous con­se­quences for the Euro­pean com­pet­i­tive­ness. There­fore, among oth­ers, the EU finance min­is­ters should stick to the goal of reach­ing con­sol­i­dat­ed pub­lic finances by 2012.[27]

In his address to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in Jan­u­ary, the Min­is­ter of Finance, Miroslav Kalousek, stressed the respect of the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact as an impor­tant con­di­tion for suc­cess­ful­ly com­bat­ing the eco­nom­ic downturn:“The Czech Pres­i­den­cy con­sid­ers the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact to be the cor­ner­stone of our bud­get poli­cies which must not be ques­tioned. After the reform of 2005, the pact now offers a frame­work for bad as well as good eco­nom­ic times.”[28]

The Czech Pres­i­den­cy will also insist on the main­tain­ing of reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing state inter­ven­tion in the econ­o­my, i.e. reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing state sub­sidiaries should not be allowed to be vio­lat­ed, and sup­port of the econ­o­my in one mem­ber state should not be allowed to have neg­a­tive affects on oth­er mem­ber states. Fur­ther­more, the gov­ern­ment stress­es that the Lis­bon process should be con­tin­ued, since the only cure for the eco­nom­ic cri­sis is struc­tur­al change and invest­ments in research and science.[29]

The Econ­o­my is one of three pri­or­i­ty areas for the Czech Pres­i­den­cy, the oth­ers being ener­gy and Europe in the world. Regard­ing the econ­o­my, the pres­i­den­cy will pri­mar­i­ly stress the removal of all bar­ri­ers that still stand in the way of the inter­nal mar­ket free­doms (the pri­ma­ry stress being on the removal of bar­ri­ers for work­ers from the new mem­ber states), reforms that will reduce the admin­is­tra­tive bur­den of small and mid­dle enter­pris­es and increased fair trade on the glob­al lev­el. These are issues where there is a con­sen­sus among Czech polit­i­cal actors.[30] Yet, the Czech pri­or­i­ties regard­ing the econ­o­my have been crit­i­cized for being one sided while only empha­sis­ing dereg­u­la­tions and a more mar­ket econ­o­my as solu­tions for a cri­sis caused by deregulations.[31]

Pres­i­dent Klaus has, unsur­pris­ing­ly, despite doubt­ing the seri­ous­ness of the cri­sis, advo­cat­ed a more rad­i­cal recipe for the solu­tion of the eco­nom­ic cri­sis. In gen­er­al, how­ev­er, he agrees with the gov­ern­ment and has expressed his sat­is­fac­tion with what the gov­ern­ment does to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion. They large­ly share the view that impro­vised polit­i­cal solu­tions might be more dan­ger­ous than the cri­sis itself.[32] Yet, Klaus sug­gests rad­i­cal reforms towards the eco­nom­ic down­turn that would, dur­ing a lim­it­ed peri­od, vio­late some indi­vid­ual rights — for instance, con­cern­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of chal­leng­ing, and thus delay­ing, the planned high­ways in the Czech Republic.[33] Klaus put it in more gen­er­al terms in an arti­cle pub­lished in the Finan­cial Times, where he argued: “The best thing to do now would be tem­porar­i­ly to weak­en, if not repeal, var­i­ous labour, envi­ron­men­tal, social, health and oth­er ‘stan­dards’, because they block ratio­nal human activ­i­ty more than any­thing else.”[34] This for­mu­la­tion was crit­i­cized on the Euro­pean lev­el by lead­ing Euro­pean social­ists, e.g. Mar­tin Schulz. Klaus’ state­ments should not be enti­tled to too much impor­tance since his office is large­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Yet, there have been spec­u­la­tions that Klaus wants to desta­bilise the gov­ern­ing coali­tion with his medi­al appearances.[35]

Regard­ing the solu­tions to the cri­sis on the domes­tic lev­el, the Czech gov­ern­ment has been crit­i­cised by some econ­o­mists for not com­plete­ly real­is­ing how seri­ous the sit­u­a­tion is. For instance, the econ­o­mist and for­mer can­di­date for Czech pres­i­dent Jan Šve­j­nar has argued that the government’s pre­dic­tion of a slow­down of eco­nom­ic growth is too optimistic;[36] a more real­is­tic assump­tion would be zero growth, giv­en, among oth­ers, the heavy depen­dence of the Czech econ­o­my on the car industry.[37]

The biggest oppo­si­tion par­ty, the Social Democ­rats (ČSSD), have sug­gest­ed a more impres­sive list of 52 pro­pos­als to com­bat the eco­nom­ic cri­sis. What is strik­ing is that many of these pro­pos­als relate to Euro­pean inte­gra­tion. The first pro­pos­al on the list is the Czech rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Lis­bon Treaty, which, in the view of the par­ty, would improve the chances of the Czech Pres­i­den­cy to suc­cess­ful­ly mod­er­ate the debates on the eco­nom­ic cri­sis. The ČSSD also wel­comes an increased role for the EU in reg­u­lat­ing the Euro­pean finan­cial sec­tors and calls for a plan for the intro­duc­tion of the Euro in the Czech Republic.[38] The par­ty has also accused the gov­ern­ment of pas­siv­i­ty and called for greater action and involve­ment with the economy.[39]

In order to han­dle the slow­down of the econ­o­my on the domes­tic lev­el, the gov­ern­ment has estab­lished a spe­cial nation­al eco­nom­ic coun­cil, con­sist­ing of 10 lead­ing econ­o­mists, who should dis­cuss and pro­pose solu­tions to the cur­rent cri­sis. In addi­tion Kalousek has declared that gov­ern­ment action will be nec­es­sary if the growth rate drops below two per­cent of the GDP. One pos­si­bil­i­ty is a reduc­tion of VAT on some ser­vices with high added val­ue, such as restau­rant ser­vices, etc. What is nec­es­sary, how­ev­er, is an agree­ment on the EU lev­el. Oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties include increased invest­ments in infrastructure.[40]

 

 

[1] For a good exam­ple see Moni­ka Mac­Don­agh Pajerová: ale akceschop­ná EU se bez smlou­vy neobe­jde (an effi­cient EU can­not do with­out the treaty) avail­able at: http://www.anoproevropu.cz/cs/articles/archive023.html (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[2] See, e.g., David Král: Mul­ti – speed Europe and the Lis­bon Treaty — threat or oppor­tu­ni­ty?, avail­able at: http://www.europeum.org/doc/pdf/895.pdf (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[3] Lis­abon­ská smlou­va nejde pro­ti české ústavě, rozhodl soud (The Lis­bon Treaty is not in con­tra­dic­tion to the Czech Con­sti­tu­tion, said the court), 26 Novem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/lisabonska-smlouva-nejde-proti-ceske-ustave-rozhodl-soud-pm5-/domaci.asp?c=A081126_085053_domaci_adb (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[4] Každý stát EU bude mít dál eurokomisaře (All EU states will con­tin­ue to have a Euro-com­mis­sion­er), 12 Decem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/tema/index_view.php?id=349507&id_seznam=21 (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[5] Bla­hoslav Hruš­ka: Podle Topolán­ka začne Lis­abon platit na kon­ci roku 2009 (Accord­ing to Topolánek the Lis­bon Treaty will come into force at the end of 2009), 12 Decem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://aktualne.centrum.cz/eurorubrika/clanek.phtml?id=624657 (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[6] Klaus nesouh­lasí s tím,jak Brusel přis­tupu­je k lis­abon­ské smlou­vě (Klaus does not agree with the way Brus­sels approach­es the Lis­bon Treaty), Czech News Agency, 12 Decem­ber 2008.
[7] Lis­abon­ská smlou­va nejde pro­ti české ústavě, rozhodl soud (The Lis­bon Treaty is not in con­tra­dic­tion to the Czech Con­sti­tu­tion, said the court), 26 Novem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/lisabonska-smlouva-nejde-proti-ceske-ustave-rozhodl-soud-pm5-/domaci.asp?c=A081126_085053_domaci_adb (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[8] Sně­mov­na přeruši­la jed­nání o lis­abon­ské smlou­vě do počátku úno­ra (The Cham­ber of Deputies inter­rupt­ed the debate on the Lis­bon Treaty until the begin­ning of Feb­ru­ary), Czech News Agency, 9 Decem­ber 2008.
[9] Sně­mov­na schválila lis­abon­sk­ou smlou­vu (The Cham­ber of Deputies indorsed the Lis­bon Treaty), avail­able at http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/zpravy/snemovna-schvalila-lisabonskou-smlouvu/361043 (last access 16 March 2009)
[10] The actu­al res­o­lu­tion of the par­ty con­ven­tion is for­mu­lat­ed rather vague­ly, but it states that MPs from the par­ty can vote accord­ing to their own pref­er­ences regard­ing the Lis­bon Treaty and that the radar base is a pri­or­i­ty. See Usne­sení 19. Kon­gre­su ODS (Res­o­lu­tions of the 19 Con­gress of the ODS), avail­able at: http://www.ods.cz/kongres/?id=vystupy&sub=607, (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[11] Senát schval­ování lis­abon­ské smlou­vy o měsíc odložil (The sen­ate post­poned the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Lis­bon Treaty by one month), Czech News Agency, 10 Decem­ber 2008.
[12] Strana svo­bod­ných občanů (The Par­ty of Free Cit­i­zens), avail­able at: http://www.svobodni.cz/ , (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[13] Czech MEP Zelezny estab­lish­es Libertas.cz move­ment, 20 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at:  http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/domov/zpravy/vladimir-zelezny-zalozil-hnuti-libertas-cz/355977?id=355992  (last access: 21 January).
[14] Česko chce hle­dat záruky pro rat­i­fikaci Lis­abonu v Irsku (The Czech Repub­lic wants to find guar­an­tees for the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Lis­bon Treaty in Ire­land), 8 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/cesko-chce-hledat-zaruky-pro-ratifikaci-lisabonu-v-irsku-pk5-/domaci.asp?c=A090108_181558_domaci_pje (last access: 21 January).
[15] Von­dra: ČR bude chtít eurokomisaře pro ener­getiku (Von­dra: CZ would like a Euro-com­mis­sion­er for ener­gy), 11 Novem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://www.lidovky.cz/vondra-cr-bude-chtit-eurokomisare-pro-energetiku-fbu-/ln_eu.asp?c=A081111_162206_ln_eu_ter (last access: 21 January).
[16] Širší vedení ČSSD a KSČM budou připravo­vat euro­vol­by (The broad­er lead­er­ship of ČSSD and KSČM will pre­pare for the Euro elec­tion), Czech News Agency, 12 Decem­ber 2008.
[17] Lucie Tvarůžková: Po uši v Bruselu, Hospodářské noviny, 29 Decem­ber 2008.
[18] Petr Drulák: Česká zahraniční poli­ti­ka mezi inter­na­cional­is­mem a atlantismem (Czech for­eign pol­i­cy between inter­na­tion­al­ism and Atlanti­cism), in: Michal Kořan (ed.): Česká zahraniční poli­ti­ka v roce 2007. Analýza ÚMV, Ústav mez­inárod­ních vztahů, Prague 2008.
[19] Transat­lantic rela­tions – pri­or­i­ties of the Czech Repub­lic, EU2009.cz, avail­able at: http://eu2009.cz/en/eu-policies/general-affairs-and-external-relations/eu-enlargement/eu-enlargement-612/ (last access: 28 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[20]Transatlantic rela­tions – pri­or­i­ties of the Czech Repub­lic, EU2009.cz, avail­able at: http://eu2009.cz/en/eu-policies/general-affairs-and-external-relations/eu-enlargement/eu-enlargement-612/ (last access: 28 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[21] Work Pro­gramme of the Czech Pres­i­den­cy. Europe with­out Bar­ri­ers, Czech pres­i­den­cy of the Coun­cil of the EU, 2009, avail­able at: http://eu2009.cz/en/czech-presidency/programme-and-priorities/programme-and-priorities-479/ (last access: 28 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[22] Češi chtějí v Praze zor­ga­ni­zo­vat první setkání Obamy a lídrů EU (Czechs want to orga­nize the first meet­ing between Oba­ma and EU lead­ers), Czech news agency, 5 Novem­ber 2008.
[23] EU doubts over tak­ing in for­mer Guan­tá­namo pris­on­ers, The Guardian, 26 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/26/eu-guantanamo-inmates-offer (last access: 3 Feb­ru­ary 2009).
[24] The gov­ern­ment remains silent, but the oppo­si­tion Social Democ­rats refused to accept the pris­on­ers in the Czech Repub­lic or in the EU (c.f. Sociál­ní demokraté se k při­j­mutí vězňů z Guan­tá­na­ma staví odmí­tavě, Mediafax.cz, 24 Jan­u­ary 2009). The pub­lic assumes a hos­tile stance, refus­ing to accept any Guan­tá­namo ’ter­ror­ists’ on Czech soil.
[25] Libor Rouček: Libor Rouček vyzývá Barac­ka Oba­mu ke zrušení plánů na výs­tavbu amer­ick­ého radaru v Brdech (Libor Rouček calls upon Barack Oba­ma to scrap the plans for the con­struc­tion of the Amer­i­can radar in Brdy), ČSSD press state­ment, 5 Novem­ber 2008.
[26] It must also be not­ed that the atti­tude of the Civic Democ­rats towards the notion of the EU as a glob­al polit­i­cal actor is becom­ing more affir­ma­tive recent­ly. The rea­son lies in the per­ceived need to (joint­ly) face up to the ’glob­al chal­lenges’ of, e.g., the geopo­lit­i­cal revival of Rus­sia and the eco­nom­ic (which turned into the geopo­lit­i­cal) rise of ’Asian pow­ers’ such as India or China.
[27] Bal­anced deficit defined as being less than one per­cent of GDP. See Kalousek: EU by se měla vrátit ke kon­sol­i­daci rozpočtů (Kalousek: the EU should return to con­sol­i­dat­ed bud­gets), 20 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/eu/zpravy/kalousek-eu-by-se-mela-vratit-ke-konsolidaci-rozpoctu/355812 (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009); see also Alexan­dr Von­dra: Předsed­nictví se může podobat ital­ské­mu cate­nac­ciu (Alexan­dr Von­dra: The Pres­i­den­cy could resem­ble an Ital­ian cate­nac­ciu), 8 Decem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://www.e15.cz/predsednictvi/alexandr-vondra-predsednictvi-se-muze-podobat-italskemu-catenacciu-64904/ (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[28] Miroslav Kalousek: Pre­sen­ta­tion of the Czech Presidency’s Pri­or­i­ties con­cern­ing Finan­cial and Eco­nom­ic Affairs to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, 21 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://www.mfcr.cz/cps/rde/xchg/mfcr/xsl/en_45152.html (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[29] Mirek Topolánek: Neuh­nu ani o milimetr. Mám plnou odpověd­nost a dos­to­jím jí (I won’t back away even a mil­lime­ter. I have full respon­si­bil­i­ty and I intend to ful­fil it), 7 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ods.cz/media/clanek.php?ID=8828 (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[30] Jan Hřích: Vnitřní trh a eko­nom­ické poli­tiky (The inter­nal mar­ket and eco­nom­ic poli­cies), in: Jan Kar­las (ed.): Jak předse­dat Evrop­ské unii? Návrh pri­or­it předsed­nictví ČR v Radě EU v roce 2009 (How to chair the Euro­pean Union? Pro­posed pri­or­i­ties of the Czech Pres­i­den­cy of the EU Coun­cil in 2009), Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions, Prague, 2009.
[31] See, e.g., Jaques Rup­nik: Bořme bar­iéry. Ale jen ty, co exis­tu­jí (Let us remove bar­ri­ers, but only the exist­ing ones), 7 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://vyhledavani.ihned.cz/109–32334760-on-ekonomick%E1+krise+eu-M00000_d-9a (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[32] Utráce­jte, utráce­jte, poradil byznys­menům v krizi Klaus (“Spend, spend” was Klaus’ advice to busi­ness­men), 16 Decem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://video.ihned.cz/c1-31760190-video-tahle-krize-neni-nejvetsi-od-20-let-odmita-klaus (last access 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[33] Václav Klaus: Čím já koho štvu? Že mám prav­du? (Václav Klaus: Why do I upset peo­ple? Because I am right?), 2 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://vyhledavani.ihned.cz/109–32087290-on-ekonomick%E1+krise+eu-M00000_d-6a (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[34] Václav Klaus: Do not tie the mar­kets – free them, 7 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://www.klaus.cz/klaus2/asp/clanek.asp?id=W12AQlgHr3Yk (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[35] Evropští social­isté ostře kri­ti­zo­vali Klause za výroky k EU (Euro­pean Social­ists crit­i­cized Klaus for his state­ments on the EU), Czech News Agency, 7 Jan­u­ary 2009
[36] Accord­ing to the expec­ta­tions of the gov­ern­ment, the Czech Repub­lic will have a growth of above two per­cent of the GDP dur­ing 2009, and unem­ploy­ment will increase only by one per­cent to 6.3 per­cent. C.f. Kalousek: Hospodářský růst příští rok nek­lesne pod 2 pro­cen­ta (Kalousek: Eco­nom­ic growth will not go below two per­cent), 27 Decem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://vyhledavani.ihned.cz/109–31863190-on-ekonomick%E1+krise+eu-M00000_d-85 (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[37] Jan Macháček: Inter­view with Jan Šve­j­nar, Respekt, 2, 2009.
[38] PŘEHLEDNĚ: 52 recep­tů ČSSD pro­ti krizi (Overview: 52 recipes of ČSSD against the cri­sis) avail­able at: http://ihned.cz/c3-31716380–000000_d-prehledne-52-receptu-cssd-proti-krizi (last access: 21 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[39] Jiří Paroubek: Česko v čele EU – úspěch nebo otazníky? (The Czech Repub­lic as EU leader – suc­cess or ques­tion marks?), 26 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://paroubek.blog.idnes.cz/c/67190/Cesko-v-cele-EU-uspech-nebo-otazniky.html (last access: 30 Jan­u­ary 2009).
[40] Kalousek uvažu­je o snížení DPH za něk­teré služ­by (Kalousek con­sid­ers reduc­tion of VAT on some ser­vices), 20 Jan­u­ary 2009, avail­able at: http://www.financninoviny.cz/os-finance/dane-a-mzda/zpravy/kalousek-uvazuje-o-snizeni-dph-za-nektere-sluzby/355795  (last access: 30 Jan­u­ary 2009).