It has not been a good week for the Czech Republic. On Thursday, President Obama formally ditched the agreement to deploy elements of America’s missile defense shield there. Twisting the knife further on Thursday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened Prague with “consequences” of delaying ratification of Lisbon Treaty, making the statement completely unprompted.
The Lisbon Treaty, a rehashed version of the twice-rejected European Constitution, is awaiting ratification in Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic. Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer has indicated that it could take a further six months to ratify the Treaty, which brings it dangerously close to the next British General Election. The return to power of the Conservative Party before Lisbon’s ratification is Brussels’ biggest nightmare: David Cameron has rightly promised to hold the referendum on the Treaty which the Labour government reneged on holding previously. And polls indicate that the British people will return the same verdict on Lisbon that the French, Dutch and Irish have previously: No, Thanks.
It is not for President Sarkozy or anyone to threaten Prague for carrying out its constitutional obligations. And President Sarkozy is hardly in any position to talk: having already seen France reject the European Constitution in a free and fair referendum, he chickened out of asking the French people what they thought a second time around.
The EU’s contempt for democracy and the opinions of its members’ citizenry is obvious. Threatening and bullying members into backing a flawed treaty will not work, and exposes the illegitimacy of the entire project. Whether it be the Irish people in their second referendum, or the Czechs, Poles or Brits, resigning Lisbon to the dustbin of history will do the rest of Europe a great service.