23rd Apr 2019

Poland backs Franco-German pact, but wants in on talks

  • Dowgielwicz (r) and the Polish ambassador to the EU at a meeting in the EU Council (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Non-eurozone country Poland has signalled it wants to be in the room for upcoming eurozone discussions on deeper economic integration and boosting competitiveness.

On 11 March, the 17 EU states that employ the single currency are to hold a summit of premiers and presidents in the European capital.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"We want to share ownership of the discussion of member states on how to make the EU more competitive," the Polish junior minister for EU affairs, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, told EUobserver. "Poland has something to offer ... We can share our best practice with the other member states. Already as long ago as 1997 we introduced our own debt brake," he noted.

Warsaw argues that much of what will be discussed has ramifications for the future of all 27 EU countries, including those currently outside the single currency. But the Poles, along with other non-eurozone states, have been excluded, even though other such summits will be open to them in future in what will be known as a '17 plus (those that are interested)' formulation.

Poland, the largest eastern EU country, says that it is not "banging on the door" to be included in the 11 March talks. But on Wednesday, it is to distribute a paper to other member states arguing that EU rules do not permit such exclusion.

"Our reading of the legal basis for this discussion requires a '27 minus' rather than a '17 plus' discussion," one Polish diplomat told this website.

In the Polish paper, seen by EUobserver, Warsaw argues that: "A profound response can only be built with full involvement of the interested parties. We therefore welcome inclusive initiatives that allow every willing member state to participate" and that "inclusiveness has always been a cornerstone of the European integration."

The paper endorses the so-called "community method", meaning that it prefers proposals to come from the European Commission not ad hoc groups of member states, as in the Franco-German case. It says that: "Poland unequivocally supports a strong role of the EU institutions, including legislative role of the commission, in co-ordinating our economic policies. The EU institutions are an effective forum of balancing interests of member states."

"There is a strong emphasis on the traditional method, with the commission's right of intiative [to propose legislation]," said the Polish junior minister.

In the paper, the Poles also signal their full backing for all the demands made by Berlin in the Competitiveness Pact, including amendments to national legislation to enforce budget discipline, corporate tax base convergence, the elimination of the linking of wages to inflation, common retirement ages and, crucially, closer economic integration.

Warsaw says that its constitution already limits public debt to 60 percent of GDP. Poland has also recently introduced a bill that limits discretionary spending to one percent above inflation.

The Franco-German pact ran into opposition from some eurozone countries over its proposal for constitutional amendments, increased retirement ages and the elimination of wage inflation-indexation. Poland however, backs Germany on all these points. "They need support and we are more than happy to give that, but we need to be included," a Polish source said.

Polish diplomats also spoke with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Tuesday evening about his efforts to build a consensus on improving EU competitiveness along the lines of a Franco-German pact, but with the involvement of all member states. Mr Van Rompuy is trying to forge a 'Competitiveness Pact 2.0' by taking soundings from all member states on the issue.


Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  2. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  3. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  4. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  5. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  6. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  7. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  8. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us