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Cablegate: Czech Views On the Eu Reform Treaty and Brussels Summit

VZCZCXRO5857
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPG #0922 2211238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091238Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9463
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS PRAGUE 000922

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/NCE AND EUR/ERA

E.O. 12958:
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN EZ
SUBJECT: CZECH VIEWS ON THE EU REFORM TREATY AND BRUSSELS SUMMIT

1. (SBU) Summary: The Czechs are content with the results of the
June EU Summit, and do not expect any surprises during the coming
intergovernmental conference. While the leadership of the current
government continues to have reservations about the pace and scope
of EU integration, they are not likely to play the role of spoiler
in the near term. The Czechs are proud of what they see as a useful
role they played at the June Summit both in supporting the Poles and
in helping to bring about the eventual compromise. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Emboffs met recently with Michal Sedlacek in the Office of
the Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs to discuss Czech views on
the June 21 - 23 European Summit, including the role the Czechs
played behind the scenes. On the latter point, Sedlacek confirmed
that the Czech Republic was involved with the main compromise,
postponing changes to the Council of the European Union voting
system, both before and during the Summit. PM Topolanek met with
Chancellor Merkel before the Summit to discuss reservations about
the proposed double majority voting system and to establish dialogue
surrounding the issue. Towards the end of the Summit, at a working
meeting attended by Deputy PM Vondra, the Czechs, together with the
Lithuanians, announced that they were supporting the Poles in their
opposition to the German text on voting. It was after this,
according to Sedlacek, that the Germans realized they would need to
compromise and proposed the delay in the new voting system that the
Poles eventually accepted.

3. (SBU) Sedlacek indicated that the Czechs are largely satisfied
with the results of the Summit and the mandate provided to the IGC.
The shift from a "Constitution" to a "reform treaty" is an important
one for the Czechs and particularly the ruling ODS party. Under the
new voting system, the Czech voting share would drop from 3.5% to
2.1%, but this has not been a concern. One potential problem is the
Charter of Fundamental Rights: if this were to become part of the
final reform treaty, Sedlacek predicted the Czechs would follow the
U.K. in seeking an opt-out.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The ODS appears to have become more pragmatic in
their approach to the EU. While ODS founder and Honorary Chairman
President Klaus remains the most visible EU critic in the Czech
Republic, the party as a whole supports the EU. We expect Klaus to
continue to voice his skepticism towards the EU, including the IGC
process, especially since this could win him some support in advance
of his likely re-election early next year. However, we expect that
the ODS-led government, which includes the staunchly pro-EU Greens,
will support the ICG, so long as no attempts are made to undo
compromises reached at the June Summit.

GRABER

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