Paroubek aims to broaden ratification "debate"


Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he will aim to discuss ratification of the EU constitution with both opposition parties, the Civic Democrats and the Communists. On Sunday he said that both supporters and opponents of the treaty will be invited to take part in the first phase of a planned information campaign. A meeting of Social Democrat and Civic Democrat leaders has been set for Monday. Unlike the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, the Communist Party wants the information campaign to go ahead in the Czech Republic, although party members are undecided as to whether or not the ratification process should be suspended. The prime minister has indicated the campaign would be launched after the mid-June EU summit, set to discuss further steps following the French and Dutch votes.

The government will earmark a total of 200 million crowns (over 8 million US dollars) for the campaign on the EU constitution.