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The Treaty of Lisbon and the Czech Republic

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Has the Czech Republic agreed "guarantees" to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as like Poland and Great Britain? Why?

On 1 December 2009 the Treaty of Lisbon, amending the Treaty on the European Union and Treaty establishing the European Communityhttp://europa.eu/lisbon_treaty/full_text/index_en.htm entered into force. Contrary to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, the Treaty of Lisbon does not supersede the establishing treaties of the European Union, but modifies them, as like the Amsterdam Treaty, Maastricht Treaty or Treaty of Nice. The goal of this reform document is to make the European Union more democratic, transparent and effective. Detailed information on the treaty is available here http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/public/story_page/008-62269-292-10-43-901-20091009STO62247-2009-19-10-2009/default_cs.htm. A summary catalogue of human rights named the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights http://europa.eu/lisbon_treaty/full_text/index_en.htm which became a binding and enforceable source of EU law after the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force should contribute to the achievement of the goals.

The Czech Republic ratified the Treaty of Lisbon on 3 November 2009 as the last EU member state. The Ratification Document was deposited at the Government of the Italian Republic – the depositary of the Lisbon Treaty – on 13 November 2009.

The President of the Czech Republic conditioned the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon by agreement of the same guarantees to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as were agreed by Poland and Great Britain (the text of the statement of the President of the Czech Republic on the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, dated 9 October 2009, is available here http://www.hrad.cz/cs/prezident-cr/soucasny-prezident-cr-vaclav-klaus/vybrane-projevy-a-rozhovory/95.shtml. Therefore the Government agreed the option to accede Protocol 30 on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Poland and the United Kingdom http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:115:0201:0328:CS:PDF for the Czech Republic. It was confirmed at the European Council held in October 2009 where the Czech Republic obtained a political promise of other EU member states to attach the Protocol on the Application of the EU Charter of the Fundamental Rights in the Czech Republic to the Treaty on EU and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in consequence of which the Protocol of Poland and Great Britain should be modified and will also apply to the Czech Republic (you will find the conclusions of the presidency of the European Council including the text of the CR Protocol here http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/CS/ec/110893.pdf. It should occur together with the treaty of accession of a new member state to the EU.

What does the Protocol of Poland and Great Britain (and of the Czech Republic in the future) mean in concrete terms?

Its goal is not to exclude the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the territories of the said states, but to detail the interpretation of the provisions of the Charter which are not explicit and could become the subject-matter of extensive interpretation by the EU Court of Justice. Thus the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is applied in the states, but the provisions of the Protocol must be taken into account within its application.

While the Protocol of Poland and Great Britain entered into force together with the Treaty of Lisbon, the Protocol of CR, by which the Czech Republic will accede to the Protocol of Poland and Great Britain, has not entered into force yet. The Czech Republic has been given a political promise of other EU member states at the said European Council that the Protocol will be attached to the establishing treaties when a treaty of accession of a new member to the EU is signed. Thus it will become legally binding after the accession treaty becomes effective. Afterwards the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will apply to the Czech Republic, but taking into account the provisions of the Protocol.

What made Poland, the United Kingdom and CR agree the “guarantees”?

Although the same protocol to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will apply in the said states, the reasons for its agreement were different. While President Václav Klaus asked the guarantees to the Charter for fear that the President Decrees issued in the period 1945-46 could be breached, Great Britain was afraid that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights could affect its social legislation. Poland agreed the Protocol in respect to the regulation of the Family Act in Poland – predominantly as a guarantee that a marriage cannot be concluded by homosexual couples.

Author: Andrea Kábelová
Added: 25.05.2010

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