October 5, 2009
The 2nd of October Yes-vote from Ireland is overshadowed by Mr Klaus’ constant refusal to sign the Treaty of Lisbon, against better advice from most Czech parliamentarians. The tactics he used in avoiding to put his signature on the document are mind-boggling, to say the least. Contesting the treaty twice before the Czech Constitutional Court on the grounds that it conflicts with the provisions of the country’s constitution dishonours not only the Czech president, but the entire Czech political elite.
So, what motivates Mr Klaus to play the obstructionist ? Certainly not his largely bogus fear that his country is going to be eurosovietized by Brussels. Sure, often in the past EU officials have been criticized for dislaying a tendency to over-regulate or to interfere with national governments in matters concerning competition, pollution and the like. The explanation for Mr Klaus’ obstinate refusal to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon does not seem to have any logic, nor to lie solely in his mistrust of Brussels. His stance could probably be better understood if approached from a psychological angle.
The Czech republic is only a small country, with a correspondingly small voice in European affairs. Although Czechs are hardworking, talented people, their leaders feel less than appreciated at times. Furthermore, as H. Kissinger once wrote, quite a lot of politicians possess an oversized ego. By being the only one to refuse the signing of a capital European document, Mr Klaus probably wishes to demonstrate to his conationals and to the world that he has guts, that he can stand up to anyone if necessary. Who knows, he might be eyeing the EU presidency, and nobody in Brussels has considered him as yet !
The problem lies elsewhere. On this occasion, such resistance is both counterproductive and unnecessary. Building a political career as a eurodissident might have worked in the eighties, as it did for Vaclav Havel. What we really need now is for Mr Vaclav Klaus to prove to all of us that he does have political common sense, not guts or a dissident streak. This would do his people and the rest of us a world of good.Florian Pantazi