23rd Mar 2018

Polish president declines to sign EU treaty

  • Lech Kaczynski in Euro 2008 football colours: protecting the Irish result is protecting Polish interests (Photo:

The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, has indicated he will not sign the Lisbon treaty until Ireland decides what to do about its No vote, dealing a strong blow to EU attempts to revive the pact. German ratification also went on hold Monday (30 June), pending a Constitutional Court decision expected early next year.

"For now, the treaty question is pointless. It's hard to say how it will end. But to claim there is no union because there is no treaty is not serious," Mr Kaczynski said in an interview with Polish daily Dziennik published on Tuesday, when asked if he would help pressure Ireland by signing the text.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The principle of unanimity is binding here," he added, explaining that Poland must protect small EU countries' rights as it is not a major power itself. "If the principle of unanimity is broken once it will cease to exist forever. We are too weak to accept this kind of solution."

The remarks come after weeks of public speculation by presidential aides that Lisbon ceased to exist when Ireland voted No in June, despite calls by France, Germany and Polish prime minister Donald Tusk for the other 26 EU states to continue ratification to help force an Irish re-vote.

The Polish parliament passed the treaty in April, but Mr Kaczynski must now sign a Ratification Act to finalise the process.

The president told Dziennik his general approach to EU diplomacy is to give Poland more clout by protecting national interests. "My politics is a way to make sure the telephone number of the Polish president or prime minister is frequently used by Berlin, Paris, London or other capitals," he said.

German setback

The Lisbon treaty had already suffered a setback on Monday, when German president Horst Koehler refused to sign the document until the country's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe rules on two legal challenges by right-wing MP Peter Gauweiler and leftist party Die Linke.

"The president is respecting the request of the Constitutional Court," Mr Koehler's office said in a statement, putting German chancellor Angela Merkel in an awkward position after she personally urged EU states to ratify Lisbon as a response to the Irish crisis.

The German parliament wrapped up ratification in May but German daily Spiegel predicts the court will not give its verdict until early 2009. "The Bundespresident has given the wrong signal by not signing," Handelsblatt cited the Social Democratic Party spokesman, Axel Schafer, as saying.

Mr Gauweiler filed his challenge on 24 May with the help of law professor Karl-Albrecht Schachtschneider, in a repeat of his attack on the EU constitution in 2005. The pair says the Lisbon treaty's Article 48 weakens German people's rights by allowing the EU to change its rules without permission from national parliaments.

Die Linke's challenge, announced on 27 June, also argues that Lisbon undermines democracy and targets defence aspects of the pact. "This false, soulless and militaristic treaty will endanger the EU," the party's Diether Dehm said last week.

The Polish and German developments intensify a headache for the French EU presidency, which takes over the EU helm today (1 July) and which had wanted to focus on climate change, Mediterranean rim foreign policy and building up EU military capacity instead.

The Kouchner touch

French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner on Monday tried to put pressure on the Czech Republic to ratify Lisbon, with Prague also struggling with a constitutional court challenge and a eurosceptic majority in the parliament's upper house.

"What use is it to take, say, three more countries into the EU, if we're blocked and can't proceed with political integration?" Mr Kouchner asked in relation to the Czech Republic's pro-EU enlargement agenda, the FT reports. "They'll be persuaded in the end."

The comments are reminiscent of his threat that Ireland would suffer if it voted No, a few days before 53 percent of Irish people voted against the EU project.

Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case

In a letter to a coalition of transparency NGOs, the EU executive has repeated that a meeting between its former boss - now working for Goldman Sachs - and the current vice president was "fully in line" with the rules.

Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case

The European Commission repeated that it followed the rules when its former head joined Goldman Sachs - and suggested it will not follow the EU Ombudsman's demand to refer the case back to the ethics committee.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections