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9th Dec 2023

Poland renews attack on eurozone-only summits

Poland has indicated it might not sign the EU fiscal treaty unless it is allowed to take part in future eurozone summits.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk criticised the latest draft of the compact - which envisages regular and exclusive meetings of countries which use the single currency - at a press briefing in Warsaw on Wednesday (18 January).

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"Our efforts aim at a fiscal agreement the shape of which does not make the division of Europe into two clubs - the eurozone and countries outside the club - more lasting than is safe in our opinion," he said, according to Polish media.

With EU finance ministers next week to tackle the euro-summit issue, he added that talks on the fiscal treaty are ongoing and that: "Whether Poland joins the fiscal pact or not depends on their resolution."

He noted, however: "We don't have too many allies on this issue - that's the truth. Some non-euro countries aren't interested in joining meetings of the euro group and most euro countries back the [exclusive] model."

Asked by EUobserver on Thursday if Poland is threatening to stay out of the pact - in what would amount to another big split in the Union - the country's EU affairs minister, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz said: "We will sign the agreement if it strengthens the EU. We will decide when the final text is ready."

Tusk on Wednesday went to Italy to meet President Giorgio Napolitano and, on Thursday, its Prime Minister Mario Monti.

He continued to bash the eurozone-only summit proposals in an interview with Italian daily Corriera della Serra out Thursday morning.

He said Poland - which aims to join the euro "in a few years" - should be able to shape discussions on the currency's future, even it does not get voting rights on euro-summit decisions.

"The chief of the International Monetary Fund is present at the meetings. Today this is Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde. In the future, an American or a Chinese person might fill the post. There is no reason to exclude other Europeans," he said.

Tusk in the interview also voiced concerns over Germany and France's "monopoly" on EU reforms.

"The fact that Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy have taken the reins is obvious. But this should not become a permanent political monopoly. We can't leave Europe to two capitals," he said, referring to the two countries' leaders.

"We shouldn't criticise the activism of Paris and Berlin - but we should be more present and not leave all the initiative to them," he added.

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