On Thursday afternoon, President Lech Kaczynski met with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Subsequently, the President attended the working session. In the evening a ceremonial dinner was hosted for the Heads of States and Governments.
During the wrap-up press conference following negotiations, the President of the Republic of Poland has noted the following:
This has been a subsequent meeting after the one we had in Brussels. From Poland’s perspective the most important subjects were the following ones: on the one hand that of the so called Ioanina, and on the other hand, the issue that emerged after the Brussels conference concerning advocates general. These are the persons functioning within the European Court of Justice who act as the Court’s spokespersons and submit cases to it. So far, there have been eight of them and they will continue to operate in this number for some time. Eight advocates out of whom five represent the five largest EU states. Poland, as we know very well, is sixth largest. The outstanding three positions are filled by all other member states on a rotation basis. As you realise, decisions have also been reached on a number of other subjects, too but these were not Poland’s initiatives. One of the considerations was the time when the first high commissioner, meaning EU Minister of Foreign Affairs, should be appointed: should it be early 2009 or after elections of 2009. Also decisions were reached on very detailed subjects, such as the number of students who are German citizens in Austria, especially in medical faculties, but I am not going to discuss this point. Coming to the issues of our direct interest, as regards Ioanina, it is anchored in the primary sources of law, i.e. there is a protocol on Ioanina and this protocol has been annexed to the Treaty. It lays down various mechanisms and in particular the mechanisms for making amendments to Ioanina. These mechanisms require the Council’s unanimity so without Poland nothing can be resolved. This is my first point.
As regards advocates, Poland did not wish to violate any mandates, since this particular issue had not been flagged up in the course of the Brussels summit. That being said, we do have a declaration from the Council, or to be more precise, from the IGC, directed to the European Court of Justice which under the present legislation is the body that has powers to propose the increase in the number of advocates. Three advocates should be added, one of them for Poland and one or two on the basis of rotation. In other words: from eight, the number of advocates is going to increase to eleven, and out of this number six advocates will represent the six largest European states, and five will represent all other European states on a rotation basis. As I expect this number will further continue to grow, the present solution being satisfactory to Poland but not fully satisfactory to the entire Court in their institutional development plans. Coming to the point raised in this connection, i.e. the division of mandates, the European Parliament has adopted such a division after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, after the number of MEP’s was reduced to 750 under the draft Treaty. We have consented to having this number raised to 751. An additional representative for Italy was considered in this regard. However, we have not agreed to accept the solution that was suggested by the Court for the time being. The final division will be endorsed In December.
As regards other issues which are very important to Poland, I wish to recall that they have been already approved of. I am referring to the extension of the Niece voting arrangements to 2017 (in practise this applies to the years 2014-2017): on a mandatory basis to 2014, and on demand from any member state to 2017. Also different formulation of the so called „shared competences” in such a way so as to fend off the risk of deprivation of a nation state of all its competences, be it in energy or in foreign policy model, to be fully covered by a community policy instead. These can be also pursued by individual states. This has been clearly stated and the problem was ticked off back at the Brussels conference.
As regards the Charter of Rights, this has been also dealt with in Brussels. In this respect, Poland joined the UK’s opt-out. Here I wish to state very emphatically that Poland has made a declaration on the observance of social rights. For Poland, it is not social rights that are questionable: they are to be fully respected, in line with the declaration Poland has made, a declaration which is binding. However, there are certain cultural aspects to be considered as well. I remember my June’s discussions with our much valued allies and friends and when I mentioned those aspects, a lot of tension resulted. In my interview to „Rzeczpospolita”; I sought to explain why Poland which has joined the British opt-out has no problems with any other rights but the ones which would provoke outright cultural disputes in Poland, quite unnecessary disputes. Considering the fact that the breakthrough in the march towards the Treaty started to emerge in March this year, and that it is October 19th today, I must say that the progress has been rapid.
Also let me mention that leading EU politicians: in particular Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as Prime Minister Junker of Luxemburg were of great assistance in the ultimate resolution of problems today . We had a very long and constructive discussion. Also the role of the Portuguese Presidency headed by Prime Minister Socrates was conciliatory and productive. I would like to acknowledge them in this particular manner because without them there would not be any success. And, indeed, Poland has managed to accomplish what she wished to. And on the other hand the whole project named the reform of the European Treaty (please, note, we do not have a Constitutional Treaty, we have a reform of two European Treaties) has been a success. The official act of signing the subject matter under discussion will be on December 13 this year. This is not a particularly fortunate date for us but I have not launched any protest on that point.”
On Friday, President Lech Kaczyński attended the following working session of the European Council. After its completion, he attended a press conference to note the following:
“Since there have been some doubts I wish to reiterate that yesterday’s meeting and the night session were both our success, equally as regards Ioanina, and as regards advocates and division of mandates. On the latter case, there has been no decision, it has been postponed. Obviously, what has been suggested forms a certain basis but this basis can be changed. This is clearly indicated by the formulation used. The information alleging that by now we have lost three mandates is greatly imprecise. Another issue which I am very pleased about, notwithstanding the general nature of today’s discussion, is that on the same day when the works on the Treaty were concluded, the EU has proceeded to engage in the debate of current affairs. For the last two hours, we have been discussing globalization, Lisbon strategy, so in a nutshell: innovation, climate change, just before I had to leave to meet you. Obviously, there are different approaches there. There are proponents of competition under all circumstances, there are also other opinions, such as the one represented by President Sarkozy and Prime Minister of Sweden who believe there are some limitations in this respect also related to the fact that our workers in Europe enjoy a degree of social protection and must compete against persons who work without such a protection. To be more precise, they must compete against employers who do not afford such protection at all and against states where no protection is afforded, where children or prisoners are used as workers. These were the examples cited. I think that such a discussion is very wholesome and typical of the Europe of today. President Sarkozy was right in his request to reject ideology. I also wish to highlight one more thing: the discussion is not running on a platform that would seem obvious: liberals on one side and socialists on the other. No, President Sarkozy is not a representative of French socialists, and likewise, after a succession of socialist governments in his country Prime Minister of Sweden is the first non-socialist Prime Minister for some time. Sweden’s present Foreign Minister used to be a non-socialist Prime Minister of the country but this was several years ago. I must say that I am decidedly pleased with the momentum the European Council has gathered though the present summit is informal and is attended only by Heads of delegations without foreign ministers.”
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