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Slovak about-face

October 29, 2009

After initially claiming it would seek an exemption from part of the European Union's reform Lisbon Treaty, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico now says such an exemption could restrict Slovaks' rights.

A bronze scupture of a man and pedestrians on a Bratislava street
Bratislava has decided not to be difficultImage: AP

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has reversed his country's stance on a proposed opt-out clause from the treaty's Charter of Fundamental Human Rights, saying the condition might restrict the rights the agreement would guarantee Slovak citizens.

Despite already ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, Slovakia had been pushing for the clause to be enforced retroactively, and warned that it would not back the Czech Republic's request for a similar opt-out unless Slovakia was given the same consideration.

Robert Fico
Robert Fico wants his citizens' rights to be protectedImage: EU

The European Union is awaiting a decision from the Czech Republic regarding the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Part of the debate in the Czech Republic is the opt-out clause, which some say would prevent property claims by Germans expelled from then Czechoslovakia after World War Two.

Slovakia, which was also part of Czechoslovakia, could face similar claims from Hungarians displaced at the same time.

Editor: Nancy Isenson