The President (and former Prime Minister) of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus (left), has broken ranks with other EU leaders and openly praised the courage of the Irish people to reject the Lisbon Treaty.
Klaus, whose signature is also needed for the Lisbon Treaty's approval, called the Irish NO "a victory for liberty and reason over elitist plans and European bureaucracy".
Speaking at a meeting with the Presidents of France, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in his capital Prague, Klaus emphasised that in Ireland - the only EU country where people had a vote on the new treaty - "the conflict between democracy and bureaucracy clearly came out into the open". He was pleased, he added, that democracy had won.
The Czech President, an economist and strong supporter of the free market theory, served as Minister for Finance in both Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, before becoming the Prime Minister of his country in 1992. In 2003 he succeeded Václav Havel as President.