17th Aug 2022

Kaczynski twins threaten Polish ratification of Lisbon Treaty

The Polish opposition, led by former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has threatened not to approve the EU's Lisbon Treaty in the country's parliament unless the ratification bill contains legal guarantees respecting Poland's sovereignty and its constitution as the highest law in the country, out of worries about gay marriage "being imposed" on the country.

According to Mr Kaczynski, who earned himself the reputation of a trouble-maker on European issues in the past, the bill should reaffirm a mechanism allowing countries to block some EU decisions as well as opt-outs secured by Poland, namely an exemption from the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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The citizens' rights document, legally binding by the treaty, is seen in Poland's conservative circles as a back door to allowing abortions, euthanasia and gay marriages.

The special addendum to the ratification bill was needed so that "homosexual marriages cannot be imposed on us" and that Polish property rights were secure on territory taken from Germany after World War II, Mr Kaczynski said, according to the Financial Times.

His party, Law and Justice (PiS), negotiated the document last year, but some suggest that the opposition leader is currently under pressure from eurosceptic nationalists and the religious right.

Mr Kaczynski's twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, has already thrown his weight behind his brother's warning. He needs to give the final approval to the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which is set to finally close the chapter on the union's institutional reform after years of negotiations.

"In my opinion, the new ratification law ... should ensure the farthest-reaching security. Simply speaking, it should be as hard as possible to change whatever has been signed," the country's president was cited as saying by AP.

The threat to block treaty ratification is a blow to the the country's current leadership, who vowed after elections last November to be the first to ratify the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

The ruling Civic Platform, led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk, wanted to draw a clear line between the 16-month era of his predecessor and putting Poland back on the European stage.

The Polish parliament is set to debate the issue on Tuesday (18 March), with the government hoping to find a compromise. The government needs at least 14 opposition votes to secure the two-thirds majority necessary for parliamentary ratification of the document.

Some domestic media outlets are reporting that Prime Minister Tusk would consider a referendum on the treaty, should the parliament fail to ratify it. So far, Ireland is the only EU member state planning to hold a public ballot.

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