Klaus is always wrong in the fundamentals

Lidové noviny; 9.11.2006; section: Polemika; author: Josef Zieleniec


In his article, the president names key changes he sees this Constitution brings and calls the debate on the Constitution a propagandistic massage. The article is concluded by an argument that this document, already ratified by fifteen member states and which is in the state of ratification in many others, as Klaus rightly points out, is not worth our interest.

Let’s begin with Klaus”s views on what the draft of the Constitution brings, as it is a portrait of his refusal of the whole document. Klaus writes: „The draft has hierarchically superiorised the European legal order above the legal orders of the member states and has further enlarged all its policy fields (Common foreign and security policy, obligatory loyalty of member states to this policy with sanction possibilities, basis to a European citizenship equal to member states’ citizenship, wall-to-wall obligation for accepting the euro with sanction possibilities with exceptions given to Great Britain and Denmark) as well as the clauses that are typical for a federation and that made possible the very existence of the now supra-national EU.” Let us analyse, step by step, the real basis of these infinitely repeated arguments against the Constitution for Europe.

The hierarchical superiority of the European legal order to the national one is a valid principle of integrated Europe since the 1960’s and is thoroughly respected. The Common foreign and security policy exists since the Maastricht treaty of 1992, along with the identical “loyalty clause”. European citizenship, as a supplement to national citizenship of all member states, also exists since the Maastricht treaty; the Constitution is, therefore, changing nothing in this field. Not even the obligation to accept the euro is an invention of the Constitution – it arises from a treaty that has come into force 15 years ago, when the common currency was invented. The only two countries with legally-guaranteed exceptions are Great Britain and Denmark.

In short, not some, but all of the factual basis of Klaus’s refusal of the Constitution are false. What the president described, and what he utterly refuses, is not the draft text of the Constitution for Europe on the future setup of Europe; he refuses the principals of the current European union into which he, as the then Prime minister, send our application in 1996 when all of these principles have already been in force for a long time and the very same principals that the Czech republic has accepted in its legal system by president Klaus’s signature of the Accession treaty.

 Made-up arguments

Václav Klaus also laments for the incorrectness of the discussion on the draft Constitutional treaty that he compares to communist propaganda and complains that the main slogan of this debate was “Who supports the draft treaty of the Constitution, is for Europe” and that those, who were against this text were called the enemies of integrated Europe. The across-the-board labelling of anti-constitutionalists was surely not a correct approach, but it was not general a general approach, as Klaus declares. 

All in all, this labelling is at place as Klaus is concerned because, as I prove above, Klaus, under the pretext of polemizing with the draft treaty of the Constitution, refuses key constitutive principles of the European integration that have sometimes been in force for tens of years.

Václav Klaus has the rare ability to be totally wrong in his evaluation of key phenomena that lead our time. I am not only talking about his “fatal character” of the European integration process. It has been the same when he made fun of the importance of the Internet, or when he called the non-governmental sector activities as dangers to human liberty, or again when he impeached the very existence of global warming. There will always be extreme, marginal opinions in all public debate, whose advocates substitute factual arguments by invented ones. The trouble lies in the fact that these advocates are not usually presidents of this country and their activities, mainly in international dimensions, do not go on the account of every Czech citizen.

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