Open timetable for ratification

The majority of Slovakia’s politicians welcomed the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007. In fact, there is only one parliamentary party – the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) – that does not support the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. The members of parliament representing the KDH use the same arguments against the Lisbon Treaty that they used in opposing the EU Constitution. They object the legally binding nature of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and criticize further transfer of competencies to the level of the EU. However, all other parliamentary parties have consistently favoured the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.
In January 2008 the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ján Kubiš expressed his wish that Slovakia would be among first EU member states to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.[1] However, since then the process of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has been complicated by matters of domestic politics. While there is a broad political consensus in favor of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty through Slovakia’s parliament and no major political force has seriously argued in favour of a referendum, the members of the political parties in opposition (the Slovak Christian and Democratic Union-Democratic Party – SDKÚ-DS, the Christian Democratic Movement – KDH and the Party of Hungarian Coalition - SMK) refused to vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty unless the government changed the contents of the proposed media law that according to the opposition could restrict the freedom of speech in Slovakia. Hence, the Lisbon Treaty has become a victim to a political dispute over another piece of legislation.[2] Since the governing coalition composed of three parties (SMER-Social Democracy – SMER-SD, the Slovak National Party-SNS and the Movement for Democratic Slovakia – HZDS-ĽS) controls 85 seats in Slovakia’s parliament, it needs the support of the opposition MPs in order to secure the three fifths majority (90 out of the total of 150 MPs) necessary for successful ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Mikuláš Dzurinda, former Prime Minister and leader of the biggest opposition party SDKÚ-DS), expressed readiness to vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty as soon as the government would change the problematic parts of the proposed media law. Yet, so far there has been no political agreement on this law and the issue of Slovakia’s domestic ratification of the Lisbon Treaty does remain open. The current dispute between the opposition and the coalition has had a small positive side effect in the increased media and public interest in the otherwise not debated Lisbon Treaty. We are expecting that the process of successful ratification in Slovakia is a matter of time whereby in coming weeks and months the government must concede some points on the proposed media law.
We have not observed any real public debate on the Committee of the Wise in Slovakia. The Prime Minister Robert Fico expressed his opinion on this initiative during a bilateral meeting with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on 2 October 2007. In bilateral negotiations Fico welcomed the initiative of Sarkozy for the establishment of the Committee of the Wise. In particular, Fico emphasized  the need to discuss the future of the Common Security and Foreign Policy (CFSP) within the work of this committee as the EU often faces difficulty in finding common position in difficult issues such as Iraq or Kosovo.[3]

[1] “Kubiš: chceme byť medzi prvými, ktorí ratifikujú Lisabonskú zmluvu”, TASR, 10 January 2008.

[2] More details available at: (last access: 25.03.2008).

[3] The report from bilateral negotiations between Fico and Sarkozy on 2 October 2007 is available at:$FILE/Zdroj.html (last access: 25.03.2008).