Warsaw backs “strong political union”
By Jakub Iwaniuk in Warsaw | Wednesday 04 April 2012
In a document that presents Poland’s foreign policy priorities for 2012-2016, the Polish Council of Ministers identifies European policy as a priority but criticises the situation in the Union, regrets a “lack of vision focused on the EU’s general interest” and highlights a “risk of renationalisation” of certain European policies. The government also regrets opinions that tend to create an “executive board” made up of certain member states, as well as the intensification of work in the exclusive framework of the Eurogroup, which allegedly constitutes “a real threat to European integration”. “We would like to meet the eurozone convergence criteria by 2015,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told parliament, on 27 March. “It is also in Poland’s interest to participate in the restricted circle of integration of the states that use the single currency.” The document highlights the “need to improve the functioning of the eurozone” in such a way that its architecture “does not create a divide between members and non-members”.
The document calls for a “strong Poland in a strong political union” determined to “take EU integration further, both politically and economically”. The Polish government wishes to strengthen the role of the EU institutions, including the Commission. “In its final design, the EU should take the form of apolitical union,” reads the text.
In keeping with their position, the Poles will also defend an “ambitious European budget” that emphasises cohesion policy and the readjustment between West and East of direct support for farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy.
The Poles also plan to give special attention to European defence policy, which should be “autonomous and complementary to NATO”. They intend to intensify the political impetus given by the Weimar triangle (France, Germany and Poland, joined by Italy and Spain) to the European defence policy. Sikorski reiterated his regrets over British reluctance on this issue and announced the government’s will to create, by 2016, in the framework of the Visegrád group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), a “Visegrád battle group” as a “regional contribution” to development of the EU’s military capacity.
The Polish government also calls for continuation of the Union’s enlargement: “The EU should continue the enlargement process. The economic crisis and short-term protectionism should not serve as a pretext to freeze the process. […] In a long-term perspective, the countries of the Eastern Partnership [Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan] should have the prospect of membership”.