22nd Mar 2018

Warsaw heads for autumn referendum

The Polish government is keen to hold a referendum on the EU constitution this autumn, even if France and the Netherlands vote No.

"One way or another, a referendum should take place in Poland", Warsaw's European affairs minister Jaroslaw Pietras told EUobserver after a meeting of EU ministers in Brussels on Monday (23 May).

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  • A pro-EU bill board campaigning for Polish EU membership in the referendum June 2003 (Photo: EUobserver)

He added that a French and Dutch No could even boost the chances of a Polish Yes down the line.

"In a situation where France says No, the Netherlands says No, Polish society might, even if only out of a certain contrariness, decide that we should adopt the treaty all the more strongly", he said.

The French and Dutch results will also affect the Polish parliament’s formal decision on the method and date of ratification, which will not be taken until early June.

"Some say that if there is a negative decision in France, it may be better [for Poland] to wait until Spring next year" Mr Pietras remarked.

But the Polish government would prefer to combine the referendum with presidential elections in September.

The minister said there is no point in putting the Poles to the extra cost and effort of two separate votes.

"There is some sense in linking the president's vision [of the future role of Poland in Europe] with the constitutional treaty", he said.

Poland is one of the countries, along with the UK and the Czech republic, that are considered likely to say No to the constitution in a referendum.

All 25 member states have to ratify the document for it to come into place.

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