26th Jan 2020

Polish summit row heats up afresh

Bickering over who should represent Poland at the intergovernmental level threatens to spill over into a second EU summit, after the political party of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he will stay home on 7 November if the president goes to Brussels.

"If the president insists, the premier won't go. Let the president put forward Poland's position on the [financial] crisis alone," a senior member of Mr Tusk's liberal Civic Platform party told Polish newspaper Dziennik on Sunday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Mr Tusk (l) and Mr Kaczynski saw the last summit dominated by coverage of who used which plane to fly to Brussels (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

"The president has already confirmed his plans. He's spoken with the French [EU presidency]. From what we hear, there are no problems to have two chairs," said Adam Bielan, a spokesman for President Lech Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice faction.

The two leaders both turned up for the last EU summit on 15 October, with an angry Mr Tusk forced at times to send away his foreign minister and finance minister from the top table to let the president take one of Poland's official seats.

Following the fiasco, which also saw the president charter a special plane to fly to the EU capital, the prime minister has asked the Polish constitutional court to rule on who should lead the Polish delegation in future.

But it is uncertain whether the court will give its opinion before the extraordinary 7 November meeting, called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week to discuss the global financial emergency.

Poland has so far escaped any major bank collapse. But the fears of a Europe-wide recession leading to a drop in Polish exports, as well as a currency crisis in Hungary, have seen a run on the Polish zloty, which has lost 10 percent of its value against the euro in the past few days.

The president's team is widely seen as lacking financial expertise, with Polish analysts saying the EU summit-attendance row is a form of early campaigning for next year's Polish presidential elections.

Croatia's EU presidency optimism beset by problems

Croatia wants to focus on economic development, connectivity, internal and external security and a globally more assertive Europe over its six-month presidency - but Brexit and the next budget negotiations may put pay to that.

Spain poised for first coalition government since Franco

Spanish caretaker prime minister and Socialist Party (PSOE) leader, Pedro Sánchez, is expected to win the second investiture vote on Tuesday - after he lost the first attempt on Sunday in an extremely tight result.

Catalan support for Sanchez breaks Spanish deadlock

Catalonia's largest separatist party to abstain during the upcoming confidence vote in the Socialist-led government in exchange for promises of political dialogue. Meanwhile a Belgian judge has suspended an arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont.

Austria's Kurz strikes coalition deal with Greens

Austria's ruling conservatives have agreed to form an unprecedented coalition government with the Greens after months of negotiations - in a deal that could foreshadow similar partnerships in Germany.

Catalan party: release leader after MEP 'immunity' verdict

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled on Thursday (19 December) that imprisoned Catalan leader, Oriol Junqueras, enjoys parliamentarian immunity as MEP, in a legal victory for the separatist movement which saw nine of its leaders jailed earlier this year.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan premier refuses to step down, despite ruling
  2. UK set to support new fossil fuel projects in Africa
  3. Leftists MEPs travel to visit jailed Catalan MEP
  4. Bulgaria may expel Russian diplomats over 'espionage'
  5. EU, China, others agree on WTO body to settle disputes
  6. EU Commission makes move against Poland on judges law
  7. Soros pledges $1bn for liberal universities
  8. Merkel: Germany unprepared for 2015 refugee crisis

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend
  2. Second-hand cars flaw in EU Green Deal
  3. Why do EU arms end up in Libya despite UN ban?
  4. Brexit deal to be signed, as sides poised for tough talks
  5. Timmermans urges EU governments to tax carbon
  6. Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote
  7. China spy suspect had EU permission to work as lobbyist
  8. EU to unveil 5G 'toolbox' to tackle security threats

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us