Thursday

15th Nov 2018

Poland against EU foreign minister post

Polish president Lech Kaczynski has said it is too early for the creation of an EU foreign minister post, following calls from Paris for a strengthened role for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Mr Kaczynski made his remarks in an interview with German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ahead of a two-day first visit to Berlin on Wednesday and Thursday (8-9 March).

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It is "too early for a European foreign minister," the Polish leader said, adding that the time is not ripe for the creation of a European diplomatic service either.

The Polish stance comes amid French calls for quicker implementation of single elements of the EU constitution to strengthen the EU’s voice in the world.

French president Jacques Chirac favours a stronger role for Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, who would be asked to effectively operate as the union’s foreign minister as envisaged in the EU constitution.

Paris also believes it is possible to create a diplomatic service within the existing EU treaties.

Broader resistance

Diplomats told EUobserver that Paris' push for more foreign policy integration is also facing resistance in other capitals.

The French are currently gathering support for an "inventory" of measures, including an EU foreign minister post, which could be implemented on the basis of the existing treaties.

But Spain has spoken out against a piecemeal implementation of ideas from the EU constitution, arguing that it could lead opponents of the charter to say that the adoption of the whole text is unnecessary.

Spain approved the EU constitution by popular referendum last year and is pushing for the entire text to be adopted, despite the subsequent French and Dutch "no" votes to the text.

Small states like the Netherlands are also wary of a strengthened role for Mr Solana as he is seen as following the agenda of big member states France, Germany and the UK.

The Hague recently sharply criticised EU foreign policy saying it was not consulted before Mr Solana made alleged apologies to muslim countries on Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohamed.

Warsaw says constitution is dead

In the FAZ interview, Mr Kaczynski reiterated his opposition to attempts to revive the EU constitution.

He stated that those who take democracy seriously should recognise that French and Dutch voters rejected the text in their referendums last year.

"When we now see several manoeuvres to force through the project nevertheless, this has only very little chance of success."

Mr Kaczynski said the text is "not up to date anymore" as it leads to "quasi federal interim structures" for Europe is not ready.

Energy - NATO or OSCE ?

The Polish leader also pushed the idea of a NATO-style EU energy security pact, rebuffing German proposals that EU energy security should be modelled along the looser structure of the OSCE which also includes Russia.

"The OSCE is not a very vital organization," he said.

Energy is set to be one of the topics dominating talks between Mr Kaczynski and Ms Merkel, amid frequent criticism by Warsaw of Berlin’s signing of a bilateral deal with Moscow on a direct German-Russian gas pipeline bypassing Poland.

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