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By Jan Lopatka
PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus welcomed on Friday a proposal by the European Union presidency for removing his objections to signing the EU's Lisbon reform treaty, increasing the chances of it going into force.
Klaus is the only EU leader who has not yet ratified the treaty and his refusal to sign is holding up reforms to ease decision-making in the 27-country bloc and increase its influence on the world stage.
Klaus has demanded an opt-out from a charter of fundamental rights that is attached to the treaty, saying he wants to shield the Czech Republic from property claims from ethnic Germans who were expelled after World War Two.
The Czech government has been negotiating his demands with Sweden, which holds the EU's presidency until the end of the year, and wants to secure approval for the opt-out at an EU summit in Brussels next week.
"The president ... received the Swedish presidency's proposal which is a response to his request related to the Lisbon Treaty ratification in the Czech Republic," Klaus's office said in a statement.
"This proposal corresponds to what the president has envisioned and it is possible to work with it further."
Klaus's office did not say what the proposal was.
The Swedish EU presidency did not immediately comment on Klaus's remarks. The European Commission, the EU executive, declined immediate comment.
STRENGTHENING EU ROLE ON WORLD STAGE
The treaty creates a long-term president and a stronger foreign policy chief under reforms which the EU hopes will help it maintain its influence as power shifts towards China and other emerging powers after the global economic crisis.
It would also reform decision-making, which is more complicated now the EU has grown to 27 member states.
Minister for European Affairs Stefan Fuele told a parliamentary committee the Czechs Republic wanted to be added to the list of countries that have an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The list includes Britain and Poland.
The form the Czechs are seeking for their opt-out would not require new ratification of the treaty by all member states, Fuele said.
Ratification by the Czech Republic also depends on a review by the country's Constitutional Court, which is widely expected to approve it, possibly next week.
Many European politicians say Klaus's actions amount to delaying tactics over the treaty, which has been approved by the Czech parliament.
Klaus says the treaty is a step towards a European superstate that would take away national sovereignty.
(Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Reuters