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Czechs praise Swedish input on Lisbon treaty

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12:18 CEST+02:00
Sweden was lauded on Friday by the Czech President Vaclav Klaus for framing

a solution to his demands for an opt-out from the bloc's Lisbon Treaty.

"President Vaclav Klaus received a proposal from the Swedish EU presidency, in response to his request relating to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic," his office said in a statement, without elaborating.

Sweden has been working to ease the concerns of the Czech Republic and Vaclav Klaus, who is the last EU leader holding out on signing the treaty, which aims to streamline decision-making in the 27-member EU.

"This proposal corresponds to the president's expectations and he can continue to work with it," his office said.

The bloc has nearly doubled in size in the past five years as a swathe of former communist countries such as the Czech Republic have joined.

On Wednesday Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt - who has been instrumental in the negotiations to overcome Klaus's objections to the treaty as it stands - said

the EU was working on a new way to settle the issue.

"I feel confident that if we have this (opt-out) in place we will have a Czech ratification after that," Reinfeldt said, adding that he expected the issue to be discussed at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Eurosceptic Klaus has a record of throwing up new hurdles to the treaty, which must be approved by all EU member states to enter into force.

Earlier this month he angered EU partners by demanding an opt-out to make sure that ethnic Germans forced out of the country after World War II in punishment for alleged wartime collaboration with the occupying Nazis cannot claim their property back.

A Czech opt-out would not be the first time such a solution has been granted with both Britain and Poland also having won similar exemptions in their own areas of concern.

Last week, Klaus suggested he would ultimately sign.

In any case, he cannot sign the treaty now as the Czech Constitutional Court banned him from ratification pending its verdict on the treaty's compliance with the constitution, expected on Tuesday.

The case was brought to the court by a group of pro-Klaus lawmakers.

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