29th Mar 2023

Poland to be wooed by Germany and France over EU treaty

  • Poland - not happy with the draft EU treaty (Photo: EUobserver)

France and Germany will this week try and persuade Poland to support the EU's new treaty amid reports that Warsaw is not happy with the latest draft.

Poland's president Lech Kaczynski is to meet his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris today (8 October) and German chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of the week in Berlin.

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The move comes after Warsaw let it be known that it is dissatisfied with the treaty compromise which does not take on board one of Poland's key demands.

A senior Polish diplomat told the International Herald Tribune newspaper: "We are not happy with the current text, because elements we wanted are not in there."

"We are not yet ready to approve this treaty in its current form."

The dispute centres around a Polish demand to have a decision blocking mechanism written into the treaty, instead of being in a declaration attached to the teaty, giving it no legal status.

The mechanism - known as the Ioaninna clause - enables a small number of member states to delay a decision made by a majority of countries if the decision hurts the interests of that particular country.

Other member states fear that if the clause is written into the treaty then its use will become the rule rather than the exception.

EU leaders are supposed to agree the treaty at a summit in Lisbon at the end of the next week (18-19 October) - but there are real fears that Poland, which has elections a few days later, may play the tough act in order to gain political kudos at home.

A June summit to get the draft outline of the treaty almost failed due to strong Polish demands which in the end saw the introduction new voting system - introducing a double-majority principle, based on the number of countries and their population size – delayed until 2014.

The summit took place in a poisoned atmosphere after Warsaw brought up World War II and saying its population had been devastated by the war and that should be taken into account.

Aside from the Polish issue, other topics may also crop up at the summit. Some have suggest that the status of the European Central Bank may become an issue the meeting.

The bank tried to secure special status for itself in the treaty as a way of guarding its independence - but failed.

In addition, other unresolved questions may come up, with countries taking advantage of the general treaty negotiations.

Austria, for example, is expected to raise the issue of foreign student access to its universities with Vienna annoyed by the amount of German students enroling in its medical schools.

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