21st Sep 2019

Sarkozy urges Polish president not to block Lisbon treaty

  • The Lisbon treaty was signed by all 27 EU leaders last December (Photo: Portuguese EU Presidency)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday pressed his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, to sign the EU's Lisbon Treaty despite Ireland's rejection of the document, which Mr Kaczynski has indicated puts further ratification into question.

"President Kaczynski is an honest man and a head of state. He signed [the treaty] in Brussels, he must ratify it in Warsaw. It's a moral question," said the French president, speaking at a meeting of the centre-right UMP party near Paris.

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Mr Kaczynski last week said that following the Irish No vote, "The treaty question is pointless," before softening his position and stating that Poland would not oppose the ratification process, provided that the Irish "change their mind, [but] not under pressure."

"I have confidence in the Polish president. We will go on, we will find solutions ... and get to a point where we convince the Czechs to ratify as well," Mr Sarkozy said at the UMP meeting, according to French news agency AFP.

Meanwhile, French daily Le Figaro reported that Mr Sarkozy spoke by phone with his Polish counterpart on Friday and, according to the French president's office, Mr Kaczynski said his country "would not be an obstacle to ratifying the treaty."

In Poland, both houses of parliament completed ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in April, but the president needs to sign off on the document for the process to be finalised.

The Czech Republic is another country that has shown reluctance to continue ratification of the Lisbon Treaty after the Irish No. It is also awaiting a decision by its Constitutional Court on whether the treaty contradicts the Czech constitution or not.

Additionally, German President Horst Koehler last week also refused to sign the document until the German Constitutional Court rules on two legal challenges by right-wing MP Peter Gauweiler and leftist party Die Linke, who argue the document undermines democracy and people's rights.

Meanwhile, two countries – the UK and Cyprus – have pushed ahead with ratification since Irish voters rejected the document on 12 June, bringing the total number of member states to have approved it to 20.

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