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Czech Leader Klaus Happy With EU Treaty Proposal

Czech President Vaclav Klaus
PRAGUE (Reuters) -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus is satisfied with a proposal by the European Union's Swedish presidency addressing his demands to modify the EU's Lisbon Treaty, his office has said.

Klaus, a staunch euroskeptic, is the only EU leader who has not yet completed ratification of the treaty, aimed at streamlining decision-making in the 27-member bloc.

He shocked the EU and the Czech government earlier this month when he demanded an opt-out clause to shield the Czech Republic from property claims from ethnic Germans expelled from the country after World War II.

The government has been negotiating his demands with Sweden, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and aims to secure approval for the opt-out at a meeting of EU leaders 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 treaty is meant to reform a decision-making process made cumbersome since the EU's numbers rose from 15 member to 27 and half a billion people when it expanded into ex-communist Europe earlier this decade.

Czech Minister for European Affairs Stefan Fuele told a parliamentary committee the Czechs were seeking the addition of the Czech Republic to the list of countries that have an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, attached to the treaty. The list includes Britain and Poland.

Ratification by the Czech Republic also depends on a review by the country's Constitutional Court, which is widely expected to approve it next week.