Sunday

28th Feb 2021

Verheugen expresses regret at helping Poland

Poland's tough negotiating style yesterday prompted biting and unprecedented criticism from Günter Verheugen, the Commissioner for Enlargement: "If this is the way Poland begins its membership in the EU, I regret my efforts for Poland", he said.

The Commissioner’s comments came yesterday (24 November) at the meeting of the joint Poland-EU committee in Brussels.

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The outburst was apparently prompted by comments from Janusz Lewandowski a member of the Polish Civic Platform (EPP-ED) and one of the countries leading pro-European forces.

Mr Lewandowski had raised the issue of unilateral revision of the accession treaty in light of reform of the common agricultural policy and perceived double standards for EU members on budget deficit.

Most of the participants in the debate could not see the reason why Mr Verheugen, known previously for his positive attitude towards the enlargement project, reacted so angrily.

I see no link between the speech by Mr Lewandowski and the reaction by Mr Verheugen, the Polish co-chairman of the committee, Jozef Oleksy said.

However Mr Verheugen’s anger is more likely to stem from objections to Poland’s hard style of negotiation in talks on the EU’s Constitution.

Poland along with Spain has resolutely objected to a new voting system being put in place in the enlarged Union.

The European Commission wants the work on the final version of the Constitution to be wrapped up under the Italian Presidency, by the end of the year.

The Commissioner used the occasion of the joint meeting of MEPs and Polish parliamentarians to appeal to Poland, and other newcomers for a constructive stance on the future EU constitution.

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