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[27/05/2005] Outside intervention

Czech Prime Minister threatens to ban President Vaclav Klaus's foreign
trips in row over EU Constitution ... For your information from Anthony
Coughlan, with comment below:-


Dublin, Friday 27 May 2005

This morning's "Irish Times" carries the following report from Reuters News
Agency under the heading  "Not Czech Mates: Prime Minister threatens to ban
President's foreign trips in row over EU treaty":-

Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek threatened yesterday to ban President
Vaclav Klaus from travelling  abroad unless he dropped his opposition to
the EU constitution, heightening their public row. The Czech government
approves the president's official foreign trips in what is usually a
routine decision, but Mr Paroubek, a Social Democrat who took power last
month, said Mr Klaus must follow his pro-EU constitution line or stay home.

Tensions have escalated over the treaty.

"It is a legitimate right of citizen Klaus to express his views. However,as
the president and part of the state's executive power he should cool his
stance. Mainly abroad, where he is not viewed as citizen Klaus but as the
president of the country," Mr Paroubek said during a trip to eastern Czech

President  Klaus,one of Europe's  most vocal critics of the constitution,
says the treaty would be a major step towards creating a European
superstate where nation states, especially small ones such as the Czech
Republic, would be marginalised.

"The constitution has been ratified by European bureaucrats and
intellectuals who are exactly the group who will benefit from it," he has
claimed and has complained of "a feeling that steps like the constitution
are threatening democracy, freedom and prosperity in Europe."

The comments provoked Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of current EU
president, Luxemborg, to warn that "when a leading politician from one of
the newly accepted countries says 'no'(to the constitution), that's
precisely how you destroy Europe."

Mr Klaus's spokesman said Mr Paroubek had no right to force the president's
hand in such a way. "I am saying again it would be good if Mr Prime
Minister carefully studies the Czech Republic constitution. It is
impossible to agree with the interpretation he is making and I am
fundamentally rejecting it," he said in a statement.

He said Mr Klaus would invite Mr Paroubek for a meeting next week.

- end -



Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy  at Trinity College Dublin and
Secretary,The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre (Tel.:

It was in remarks made following a public lecture that I had been invited
to give at the Centre for Economics and Politics in Prague on Thursday of
last week, 19 May, that President Vaclav Klaus referred publicly to the
fact that Czech Prime Minister Paroubek had travelled to France the day
before to campaign for the Yes side in the referendum there on the proposed
EU Constitution.

Dr Klaus indicated in his remarks that he thought that outside intervention
in a domestic referendum by politicians from other countries was against
the traditional norms of political protocol between States. The Czech
President said that he presumed that Prime Minister Paroubek's action now
gave him(Dr Klaus) a license to express publicly his hope that French
voters would vote No to the EU Constitution in their forthcoming referendum
-  for the sake of Europe, for France itself and for the cause of democracy
in the European Union.

Last Friday's Czech daily, Pravo, carried a front-page photograph showing
Czech Prime Minister Paroubek with a  "Oui" button on his lapel, standing
alongside French Socialist Party politician Jack Lang following a Yes-side
campaign meeting in France.


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