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20th Jan 2019

'No chance' for EU constitution in Poland, Kaczynski says

Polish president Lech Kaczynski has said the EU constitution has "no chance" of being ratified in Poland, while pleading for a new, less centralist kind of charter.

The Polish leader made his remarks in an interview with French daily Le Figaro on Friday (24 February), ahead of a two-day visit to France on Friday and Saturday.

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"This treaty has practically no chance of being ratified in Poland, neither by referendum, nor via the parliamentary route," he was quoted as saying.

Mr Kaczynski's interview reiterated earlier calls for a new EU charter, looser and more decentralised than the EU constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters last year.

The Polish leader told Le Figaro "In any case, it should take reality into account, that is to say the differences between the members of the union as far as the levels of development are concerned as well as traditions and expectations."

Underlining the central role of nation states in his thinking, he said "what interests the Poles is what will come out of Poland, not the future of the union as a whole. It's the same in France."

"What interests people is what Jacques Chirac says, not the declarations of Mr Barroso," he said mockingly.

On Wednesday he had stated that the current EU constitution text "brings us closer to a super-state," according to PAP.

Poland remembers \"shut up\" remark

The trip to Paris constitutes Mr Kaczynski’s first visit to a capital in "old" Europe, before a trip to Germany planned in March.

Le Monde writes that Mr Kaczynski's choice of Paris shows a warming-up in Franco-Polish relations which suffered during Poland’s support for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Mr Chirac famously said in 2003 after Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic backed the US position "They missed a good opportunity to shut up," adding "These countries have been not very well behaved and rather reckless of the danger of aligning themselves too rapidly with the American position."

Poland has not forgotten Mr Chirac’s "unfortunate" remarks, Mr Kaczynski indicated.

He told Le Figaro "to me, that way of thinking of the type 'we welcome you in the European Union, but you have to abide', that doesn't make sense."

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A number of centre-right MEPs are pushing for a secret ballot on a plenary vote that would make EU lawmakers more transparent and accountable to the public - in a move described as "absurd" by Transparency International.

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