Thursday

17th Jan 2019

Polish president won't sign Lisbon before Irish referendum

Poland will not complete the final step of ratification for the EU's Lisbon treaty until after Ireland has had its second referendum on the document, the Polish president has reiterated.

While noting that his country does not intend to be an obstacle to the bloc's ratification of the text, Lech Kaczynski said he would only sign off on the treaty if Irish citizens say Yes in the new vote, expected in autumn.

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  • Mr Kaczynski wants to respect "the sacred right of the Irish people." (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

"In Ireland, the constitution requires a referendum and in a referendum, the majority voted against the Lisbon Treaty," Mr Kaczynski told foreign diplomats in Warsaw on Tuesday (20 January), Polish news agency PAP reports.

"It is the sacred right of the Irish nation," he added.

The president's tough stance comes despite the Polish parliament's foreign affairs committee on Tuesday passing a resolution for him to yield.

"The parliament requests the president to respect the will of both houses of parliament and to finish the process of ratification as quickly as possible," the resolution - which is to be voted on in plenary on Thursday - says, according to Rzeczpospolita.

The Polish president has in the past called the Lisbon Treaty "a great new experiment" that "very much limits the unanimity principle by introducing the majority principle instead."

One of his fellow Law and Justice party members in the Polish committee debate said Lisbon would open the door for Germans to sue Poland for war reparations.

Besides Ireland and Poland, Germany - which is awaiting a ruling by its highest court on legal challenges to the text - and the Czech Republic have also not yet ratified the EU treaty.

But speaking to MEPs on Tuesday, Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg said Czech ratification should take place "soon".

"I am absolutely sure we will ratify," he said, adding: "But I am not a member of the parliament and which day or which week of February exactly it will happen, I cannot tell you."

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