The Czech President Vaclav Klaus said he would not ratify the Lisbon Treaty after it was approved by the senate yesterday, raising a new obstacle to plans to reform the EU.
Mr Klaus explained that he would not sign the treaty because of its rejection by Irish voters last year and an expected court challenge in the Czech Republic.
"The Lisbon Treaty is dead for this moment," said President Klaus. "It is dead because it was rejected in a referendum in one member state. Therefore, a decision on ratification of this treaty is not on the agenda at this point."
Ireland plans to hold a new vote later this year on the EU's charter for reform. Yesterday the Czech senate voted 54-20 to ratify the treaty which is meant to simplify decision-making in a union that has grown from 15 to 27 members over the past five years. Mr Klaus and lawmakers among the ruling right-wing Civic Democrats claim that the treaty takes away sovereignty and is a step towards a European superstate.