Sunday

17th Feb 2019

Poland indicates it is ready to compromise on EU voting rights

  • Polish prime minister Jaroslav Kaczynski (l) has played down calls against the new EU treaty from within his coalition (Photo: European Commission)

Days before EU's foreign ministers kick off detailed talks on the bloc's new treaty, Poland has signalled it will not insist on further debates and concessions on the sensitive issue of the union's voting rules.

Polish top officials have hinted they do not want Warsaw to appear as the only trouble-maker when the EU convenes the intergovernmental conference on the new treaty, on Monday (23 July), according to several Polish papers.

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Earlier this month, Poland sparked concerns that it would not stick to a voting compromise agreed to by EU leaders at an acrimonious summit in June.

In post-summit comments, Warsaw highlighted a specific provision which allows countries to delay an EU decision if they fall just short of the required number of member states to block it.

Polish authorities argued they had been given a "gentleman's agreement" that there would be a mechanism to delay the decision for up to two years - something subsequently denied by EU officials and the Portuguese presidency of the Union.

But Andrzej Sados, minister in the Polish prime minister's cabinet, told Rzeczpospolita daily, that Warsaw is not going to insist on the disputed provision.

"Our priority is not to block decisions - we're interested in easier decision-making because we want the Union to function properly," he said.

He added that the delay mechanism would in any case only apply for decisions in agriculture and trade areas where Warsaw does not see itself being in danger of losing out in issues of its national interest.

The proposed EU treaty continues to provide political ammunition in Poland, however.

Earlier this week, two minor parties in the government led by Jaroslav Kaczynski - Samoobrona and the League of Polish families - merged together into a new movement - and hinted they would press for a rejection of the new EU treaty altogether.

But Mr Kaczynski played down their comments, suggesting "This issue is being analysed individually by each party, but I do not currently see any threat to ratification."

"There are threats to ratification in several other countries, but it's not the case in Poland," he added, according to PAP agency.

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