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Saturday, 14 October 2006

Poland to get actively involved in the work on the European Treaty

On 14 October 2006, the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, received the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, currently on a visit to Poland, at the Presidential Palace. The meeting also involved two Ministers from the Presidential Chancellery: Małgorzata Bochenek and Andrzej Krawczyk.

Following the meeting, a press conference was held, in the course of which the Polish President said:

‘I would like to thank you very much, Mr. President, for visiting Poland, for your constructive, extremely interesting talks with the Prime Minister. Today, we met over lunch. Our very interesting talks focused first and foremost on issues that had not been discussed earlier at any greater length, on Eastern policy issues, not only regarding our Russian partner, but also regarding Ukraine and Georgia, as well as on the European Union’s institutional future. It is common knowledge that what is forthcoming--as you said, Mr. President--is a time of intensive debate in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, as well as with the plans of the German Presidency in this respect, that are already known, more or less. What is known, at least, is that Germany wants to play a very active role on this issue.

Poland will, naturally, join in this debate, recognizing that what the EU needs is a treaty of a fundamental nature. This treaty may be called a ‘constitutional treaty’; for our part, we do not mind it in the least. There are countries and peoples among whom this term has provoked some opposition. From our point of view, it is not the name that matters; what matters is the contents of that agreement to be concluded between as many as 27 states already at that point; contents to considerably improve the EU’s institutional efficiency, on the one hand. At the same time, though, I expressed an opinion that, from our point view, the experience of Poland’s nearly 2,5-year-long membership by no means indicates that the EU is an institution that does not work. Quite the contrary: the EU works on so many planes that it is difficult to grasp it sometimes. Institutional reform is needed. What we need to see is improved efficiency in day-to-day decision-making; there is no doubt about it.

Common undertakings are needed, in greater numbers than we see today. I mean thereby common undertakings that go beyond the EU. They may be of various character; not only military, of course, for we mentioned Lebanon and Congo; but I recalled an idea--it is the Prime Minister’s idea, actually, but I subscribe to it--to seek (for this is not going to be a short process) to establish European forces capable of rapid reaction, immediate reaction, should the situation so require. Finally, I said that Poland would, in the first half of 2007, join actively in the process of seeking a solution to the problem posed by the rejection of the European Treaty in referendums in France and in the Netherlands, and by the fact that there are other nations apart from the Dutch people and the French people who also have their doubts. I believe that it will be productive work and that by mid-2007 we will be further advanced than we are now. Mid-2007 marks the end of the German Presidency.

Once again, let me express my satisfaction over our meeting, Mr. President. Also, I would like to say that we exchanged opinions concerning EU enlargement. And here, as far as Ukraine and Georgia are concerned, Poland upholds its position, recognizing both the necessity to enlarge the EU in this direction and the fact that this is not a short-term prospect.’


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