PRAGUE Jan 12 Leader of Czech coalition
party TOP09 Karel Schwarzenberg said the country should back a
new EU fiscal treaty or ministers from his party would quit,
daily Lidove Noviny newspaper reported on Thursday.
Schwarzenberg told Czech Television, however, that he was
not giving an ultimatum to Prime Minister Petr Necas.
"I only said, and I am sticking to that, that if we move to
the periphery of European integration, it would be
Schwarzenberg's comments to the newspaper raised the risk of
a collapse of the Czech government, which had already averted a
breakup this week in a row over church property and faces
divisions over European integration.
EU officials agreed to a new treaty in December, aiming to
push ahead with deeper economic integration and tackle a euro
zone debt crisis.
The Czech government has yet to give a clear indication of
whether it would join the treaty, which European Council
President Herman van Rompuy has said should be signed by EU
states by early March.
"I will not sit in a government which will lead the Czech
Republic outside the mainstream of European integration,"
Schwarzenberg told the newspaper.
"It is our fundamental interest to sit at a table and
participate in the essential decisions that influence us
The new treaty would impose automatic sanctions for
countries which breach EU fiscal rules requiring budget deficits
to be kept below 3 percent of gross domestic product and debt
levels below 60 percent of GDP.
Necas has maintained the government would only
make its position clear once details of the compact are agreed.
The Czech total fiscal deficit is estimated at 3.7 percent
of GDP in 2011. The government debt is around 40 percent of GDP.