Wednesday

27th Mar 2019

Spats over who gets to go to EU summit break out in Poland, Finland

  • EU leaders to meet in Brussels on Monday 1 September (Photo: Council of the European Union)

The emergency European summit called to tackle the Georgian crisis and forge a common European position on the issue is itself causing divisions - but over who gets to go to the extraordinary meeting of EU leaders.

The Polish prime minister and president are scrapping over who gets to attend the meeting, while the decision by the Finnish president to go has pushed aside the country's foreign minister, Alexander Stubb, who is also the current chair of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, although there is no tussle over who gets to attend, President Vaclav Klaus nonetheless has an opposing view to his prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, as to who is responsible for the Georgian conflict.

Conservative Polish president Lech Kaczynski has demanded he be the one to head to Brussels for the summit, rather than the more liberal prime minister, Donald Tusk.

Speaking on Polish radio, the president's aide, Piotr Kownacki, on Thursday (28 August) said: " If the president is in the Polish delegation, it is obvious that he lead it due to his office," according to AFP.

The previous day, the deputy prime minister, Grzegorz Schetyna, had said that if the president attended, it "was not going to help matters," the French news agency also reported.

Moreover, the two leaders have a slightly differing perspective on the crisis. The president has attacked the peace plan between Russia and Georgia negotiated by French President Nicholas Sarkozy for making no mention of Georgia's right to territorial integrity.

Mr Tusk, for his part, has not criticised the plan, although he hopes to see a strong position taken by the EU on Russia's actions.

Messrs Tusk and Kaczynski are to meet on Friday to attempt to resolve the disagreement.

Over in Finland, President Tarja Halonen has announced she is to attend the summit, meaning that foreign minister Alexander Stubb would have to wait outside while the president and prime minister talk with other EU leaders.

The bumping of the foreign minister this time is causing a bit of a headache for the delegation, as Mr Stubb is also the current chairperson of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with which the EU has been closely working on the Georgian crisis. The foreign minister and former MEP also played a key role in the negotiation of the Sarkozy peace plan as chair of the OSCE.

President Halonen's chief of staff said on Wednesday that the "starting point" is that the OSCE chairperson will attend and that Finland would have a third seat in the meeting, instead of the normal two, the Helsingin Sanomat reported.

However, Brussels officials have all said that a third seat is "impossible", according to the Finnish daily.

Mr Stubb may yet be invited to attend separately in his capacity as OSCE chair, but in which case, he would only be able to participate for the length of his presentation.

Elsewhere, although Czech President Vaclav Klaus has been invited, he will not be heading to the summit, with prime minister Mirek Topolánek attending instead, alongside the foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg.

The Czech leaders have diametrically opposed views on the conflict, with President Klaus of the opinion that Georgia is responsible for starting the war, while the prime minister blames Russia.

Mr Schwarzenberg said that such differences are nothing unusual in the government of a democratic state. The main thing, he said, is that it is the government that determines foreign policy, reports the Prague Post.

Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban

The EU's largest political alliance, the EPP, will try to put the 'Orban issue' behind it going into the European election campaign. Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz, could be expelled or suspended from the political family.

EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Germany and Belgium have put forward a proposal for a "peer review" of EU countries' legal systems as member states and EU institutions struggle with disciplining member states that break EU rules.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

EPP hits threshold to trigger Orban expulsion probe

At least seven national parties from Europe's biggest political alliance, the centre-right European People's Party, want the group's 'enfant terrible', Hungary's nationalist and authoritarian Fidesz kicked out - following Budapest's latest anti-EU campaign.

News in Brief

  1. EU tables plan for joint approach to 5G security
  2. MEPs agree to scrap summer time clock changes by 2021
  3. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  4. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  5. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  6. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  7. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  8. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law
  2. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  3. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  4. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  5. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  6. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  7. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  8. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us