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Tuesday, 21 June 2005

President of the Republic of Poland attends Reflection Group meeting

On 21 June 2005, President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski took part in Reflection Group meeting convened to assess the state of affairs in Europe in the aftermath of the European Council meeting held in Brussels on16 and17 June 2005.
At the close of the meeting, the President said:
During the early part of the meeting, Prime Minister Marek Belka gave an account of the European Council proceedings in Brussels. The meeting conclusions are these: we all resolutely support the notion that a document of such gravity as the Constitutional Treaty should be a subject of a wide public debate and ought to be approved in a nationwide referendum. A relevant resolution has been adopted by Sejm (Parliamentary) Committees. At the same time we acknowledge that the European Council’s suggestion is that we pause for – at it has been termed – a period of reflection in recognition of the fact that the discussion has not yet run its course in all the European countries, that we need time to ponder the consequences of the thus far held referenda in France and the Netherlands and bearing in mind that not all European countries appear yet ready to accept the Constitutional Treaty.
We are convinced, as Poland, as those who had put forward the idea earlier, that for Europe, for the cause of enhancing European integration and also for the process of EU enlargement by consecutive countries – we have here in mind Rumania, Bulgaria, the Balkan states and foremost Ukraine – the adoption of the Treaty in compliance with procedures and within the scheduled timeframe as provided in the Treaty would have been the best possible solution. But since we are a member state of the EU, we duly acknowledge the Brussels declaration adopted in recent days; consequently it follows that it will not be viable to hold a referendum, as was our intension, in October this year. We should inspire a longer-lasting public debate on the issue. We shall also continue to discuss the issue of the referendum date but my impression is that the decision in all probability will be left to my successor in the office of the President of the Republic of Poland since it appears unlikely that it can be taken before the end of this year. In short – the referendum should be held in Poland but presently the date – rather later than earlier and definitely not October this year - remains uncertain.    
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