New Czech PM takes 2 steps to improve his nation's ties with EU

The Czech Republic's new prime minister has taken two steps to improve his nation's ties with the European Union and its policies.

Bohuslav Sobotka says his country is no longer requesting an opt-out from a provision of the reform Lisbon Treaty, which the republic approved in 2009.

At the time, President Vaclav Klaus, an ardent Euro-skeptic, only signed the treaty after he got the opt-out from its Charter of Fundamental Rights. He did that out of concern over property claims by ethnic Germans who were stripped of their land and expelled after World War II.

Sobotka, who was sworn in last month, said Wednesday the concern cited for the opt-out was unjustified.

He also said his government plans to join the bloc's fiscal compact treaty designed to limit government overspending.