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Europe

Czech President Vetoes EU Arrest Warrant

Czech President Václav Klaus has vetoed a bill on the European arrest warrant, arguing it would have made it possible for Czech citizens to be extradited to other EU countries to face trial.

Klaus said that to pass such a bill would mean to hand over a part of the country's sovereignty and its right to protect its citizens. Václav Klaus was elected president of the Czech Republic in Feb. 2003 and succeeded Václav Havel. As co-founder and former chairman of the Czech conservative Civic Democratic Party, ODS, he has often voiced skepticism on the process of European integration. EU justice and home affairs ministers suggested establishing a European arrest warrant after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US and drafted a proposal just nine days later. The European arrest warrant entered into force in January 2004 in eight EU member states -- Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. However, several other states have been very slow to adopt it. The warrant is designed to keep criminals from moving freely within the EU since law enforcement officals must deal with extradition rules each time a suspect moves from one EU state to another. (EUobserver.com)

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