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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.01.11: Poland: Elections will not disrupt EU presidency - 0 views

  • The Polish junior minister for EU affairs, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, has promised that upcoming elections will not disrupt Poland's EU chairmanship and defended Hungary over its controversial media law. Speaking to EUobserver ahead of a visit by EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy to Warsaw on Monday (17 January), Mr Dowgielewicz predicted the election will take place in the second half of October - slap-bang in the middle of Poland's EU presidency - but said the vote will be separated from its EU activities by a "Chinese wall".
  • The latest poll, by GfK Polonia in December, indicated that centre-right Prime Minister Donald Tusk will sail through to a second term on 54 percent, leaving behind the main opposition party, Law and Justice, on 26 percent. Even if the situation changes drastically, Law and Justice' bull-in-a-china-shop boss, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is unlikely to turn up at any EU summits in 2011. "The presidency has been set up in such a way as to allow the old government to continue running things until late December, until the last session of the European Parliament, no matter what happens," Mr Dowgielewicz noted.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

31.12.10: Poland's EU presidency: Six months to go | The Economist - 0 views

  • POLAND takes over the presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2011. The government has won some applause in Brussels for its early preparation. One feature of the process has been the government's use of think tanks, both as sounding boards and as advisers. But the following open letter (below the fold), co-authored by the heads of several Polish think tanks and published recently in Gazeta Wyborcza, implies that not everyone is listening. Let's hope that changes. The success of the Polish presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2011 requires that strategic decisions be taken and a great deal of attention be paid to detail. Much as we appreciate the effort the Polish government is putting into preparing the presidency, we would also like to note some problems which threaten the success of the project.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.12.10: EU's big three call for long-term budgetary restraint - 0 views

  • The EU's three largest member states - Germany, France and the UK - are set to publish a text on Saturday (18 December), calling for spending restraint in the bloc's long-term financial framework (post 2013). Initiated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the letter will call for a freeze in the long-term spending plan, excluding inflation, and also seek to rein in the bloc's 2012 and 2013 annual budgets.
  • The move puts the group of large member states on a direct collision course with the Brussels-based EU institutions, already battered after their call for a six percent rise in next year's EU budget was cut in half by national capitals. With the commission not set to publish formal proposals on the multi-annual financial framework until June 2011, the EU institution may also perceive London's latest initiative as a move to undermine its right of initiative. Still undecided, the framework's period is likely to cover 2014-2020. It is then broken down into annual budgets. Poland and other eastern countries may also be horrified by the attempt to curb future EU payments of which newer member states are large recipients. But other EU members are also set to sign the austerity-letter, with Austria, Italy and Finland among the names suggested by diplomats.
  • European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso sought to downplay the letter's significance. "We know different groups of member states sometimes try to position themselves," he said. "What is important in the end is the commission's proposal that is being put forward [next June], and then the discussions on the basis of that proposal." European Council President Herman Van Rompuy was also phlegmatic. "If there are letters, we are very polite people, we read our letters we receive," he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.12.10: UK seeking concessions on long-term EU budget - 0 views

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing EU leaders in the margins of a European Summit in Brussels on Thursday (16 December) to support a declaration on limiting the size of the EU's future multi-annual budget (post 2013), diplomats have indicated. Although the budgetary issue is not formally on the summit's agenda, the UK leader is hoping to garner the support of enough member states in order to publish a letter later today or on Friday.
  • Mr Cameron is under pressure from elements of his own Conservative Party to limit future EU spending, especially as national governments implement thumping austerity packages back home. London recently lost its battle to freeze spending in next year's annual EU budget which is decided by majority voting among member states, unlike the long-term framework which needs unanimity.
  • A tie-up between the size of the future EU budget, Britain's EU budgetary rebate and funding for the common agricultural policy (CAP) is one deal rumoured to be under discussion between France and the UK. France is adamant that CAP funding should not be cut. Poland has been the leading opponent of attempts to limit the size of the multi-annual framework which is then subsequently broken down into annual spending plans. "What is the most important from our point of view is for the budget not to be reduced significantly, because we believe the funds flowing to Poland and other countries help us fight the crisis," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters hours before the summit.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.11.10: Disagreement over EU agricultural policy and funding - 0 views

  • Poland's top farm official has slated the EU's agricultural policy, or CAP, as "two-speed" and common "only in name," calling for a new system with reduced direct payments for farmers and increased money to help restructure the sector. Speaking to journalists on Monday (8 November), Marek Sawicki from Poland's conservative Peasant Party also threw his support behind one option outlined in next week's European Commission proposal on CAP reform, and slammed the contents of a recent Franco-German position paper as purely "cosmetic."
  • Direct payments for farmers in newer member states are strongly linked to farm size, while those in the EU15 countries receive funds calculated using a complicated system that takes into account historic stock or crop levels. This has resulted in huge variations in direct payment sizes, with per-hectare payments for Polish farmers amounting to roughly €150, compared with while €300 for French farmers.
  • "It is no secret that at the moment we have two speeds in Europe. There are old and new member states and they move at different speeds," he added. "There's 27 different common agricultural policies, but only the name is common." To balance this out, Mr Sawicki wants direct payments for farmers in all member states to be reduced in size, while EU funding under the policy's 'rural development' pillar should be increased. Payments for Polish farmers are already split roughly evenly between the two funding channels.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.10.09: Poland ratifies Lisbon Treaty as Czech cloud hangs overhead - 0 views

  • Polish President Lech Kaczynski at noon on Saturday (10 October) signed the Lisbon Treaty at a ceremony in Warsaw. But Czech head of state Vaclav Klaus put a dampener on the occasion with attempts to revive World War Two-era tensions from his castle in Prague.
  • Mr Kaczynski warmly endorsed Poland's EU membership. But he said integration should not go too far and indicated that his accord is based on trust that the EU will take in more former Communist states in the future. "Without any complexes, without fears we have opted for further integration with the European Union, because we feel good, we feel confident inside this fellowship," he said. "The union is a collection of sovereign states and will remain so. But co-operation will become ever more close." "The union as an exceptionally successful experiment cannot be closed to others who want to join it. Not just Balkan countries, but also Ukraine, Georgia, in the future, others. The union can't say No to them," he added, in his final words before putting pen to paper
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.10.09: Barroso fears powerful 'European president' - 0 views

  • European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has sided with smaller member states in trying to restrict the role of the proposed president of the European Council, a new post created by the Lisbon Treaty. Addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday (7 October), Mr Barroso chastised MEPs for referring to the post as "president of Europe."
  • "I am sorry, there will not be a president of Europe. There will be, if we have Lisbon, the president of the European Council. It is important to understand that point because sometimes I think there are some ideas about certain derives institutionelles [institutional drifts]," he said.
  • The commission president has no formal powers in appointing the European Council president but he warned: "The European Commission will not accept the idea that the president of European Council is the president of Europe." Mr Barroso's remarks came shortly after a leaked paper on the new Lisbon Treaty posts by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg underlined the importance of maintaining the "institutional balance" of the union. The paper has been interpreted in some quarters as an anti-Blair move. Poland has also prepared a document on the role of the president of the European Council. Earlier this week, Polish Europe minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz indicated to EUobserver the limited role that Warsaw foresees for the new president.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.10.09: EU leaders face 'difficult task' naming new Commission - 0 views

  • EU heads of state and government will have to make difficult choices when they meet in Brussels for a summit on 29-30 October, with uncertainty over when the Lisbon Treaty will come into force having huge consequences for the size of the next European Commission, analysts told EurActiv.
  • Background: According to pro-EU politicians, Europe is in a "completely new" situation after the resounding 'yes' vote in the second Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum, held last Friday (EurActiv 03/10/09).  At present, 25 out of 27 EU member states have ratified the Union's reform treaty, and the news from Poland is that its president, Lech Kaczyński, will soon sign the ratification by the country's parliament, completing the procedure in that country too.  All eyes are now turning to the Czech Republic, where a group of 17 Eurosceptic senators close to the country's president, Václav Klaus, filed a second complaint against the Lisbon Treaty with the constitutional court in Prague, putting its ratification on hold (EurActiv 30/09/09).  This strategy is seen as an attempt to delay final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty until a conservative government comes to power in Britain, where elections are due next year.  Tory leader David Cameron, who leads comfortably in opinion polls, said that in the event that the Lisbon Treaty is not fully ratified by then, he will call a referendum in the UK, despite the fact that the country has already ratified the treaty in parliament (EurActiv 24/09/09). 
  • On the one hand, EU leaders can assume that the Lisbon Treaty will soon be ratified and invite member states to submit candidacies for commissioners and other top jobs. Alternatively, they can choose to avoid taking any risks and launch a procedure for nominating a smaller-size Commission under the current Nice Treaty, analysts told EurActiv. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.03.09: Czech government defeat raises major Lisbon concerns - 0 views

  • The presidents of both the European Commission and the European Parliament on Wednesday (25 March) urged the Czech Republic to proceed with the ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty despite the fall of the Czech government the day before, while Czech deputy premier Alexandr Vondra admitted the ratification would now become "more difficult."
  • "I would like to urge all political leaders not to use this political crisis in a way to make the Lisbon Treaty hostage to domestic problems. That would not be fair to the other countries of Europe," Mr Barroso said at a press conference in Strasbourg.
  • The Czech Republic, Ireland, Germany and Poland comprise the four countries that have yet to complete the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
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  • "From the European Parliament's perspective, it would be a tragedy for Europe if the Lisbon Treaty were to fall in one country, in a country that belonged previously to the Warsaw Pact," he said, referring to the organisation of Communist states in central and eastern Europe that existed from 1955 to 1991. "I cannot imagine that the Czech people, these 10 million people ... are going at the end of the day to stand against the 490 other million citizens of the European Union ... We have a historic responsibility to see this through," he added.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.01.09: Polish president won't sign Lisbon before Irish referendum - 0 views

  • Poland will not complete the final step of ratification for the EU's Lisbon treaty until after Ireland has had its second referendum on the document, the Polish president has reiterated. While noting that his country does not intend to be an obstacle to the bloc's ratification of the text, Lech Kaczynski said he would only sign off on the treaty if Irish citizens say Yes in the new vote, expected in autumn.
  • The president's tough stance comes despite the Polish parliament's foreign affairs committee on Tuesday passing a resolution for him to yield. "The parliament requests the president to respect the will of both houses of parliament and to finish the process of ratification as quickly as possible," the resolution - which is to be voted on in plenary on Thursday - says, according to Rzeczpospolita.
  • Besides Ireland and Poland, Germany - which is awaiting a ruling by its highest court on legal challenges to the text - and the Czech Republic have also not yet ratified the EU treaty.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.11.08: Lisbon treaty storms through Swedish parliament - 0 views

  • The Swedish parliament late on Thursday (20 November) adopted the Lisbon treaty by a sweeping majority, becoming the 23rd EU country to ratify the text. The treaty was passed by 243 votes against 39 at 23:30 local time, with 13 abstentions and 54 deputies absent from the 349-seat legislature, the Riksdag.
  • Final four The Swedish result comes after Ireland voted No to Lisbon in a referendum in June. A small crowd of anti-Lisbon campaigners protested outside the Swedish embassy in Dublin on Thursday, saying the Irish government should have told Sweden the treaty is dead. The Czech Republic is awaiting a constitutional court verdict on 25 November before resuming parliamentary ratification. A German constitutional court verdict is expected in early 2009. The Polish president has refused to sign off on the treaty unless Ireland overturns its No.
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    Lisbon treaty storms through Swedish parliament
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.11.08: France 'overstepped mandate' on missile shield moratorium - 0 views

  • Prague and Warsaw have poured cold water on French calls for a moratorium on a planned US missile shield in Europe, with both capitals saying that president Nicolas Sarkozy overstepped his mandate.
  • "I don't think that third countries, even such good friends as France, can have a particular right to express themselves on this issue," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday (15 November)
  • The Polish leader described Mr Sarkozy's comments as his "own point of view, [with] no impact of the future of the project," according to AFP, adding that "The question of the anti-missile shield is governed by an agreement between Poland and the United States."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.07.08: Polish president softens tone on lisbon-treaty - 0 views

  • Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Tuesday (1 July) toned down his rhetoric against the Lisbon treaty, with the French EU presidency also downplaying the mini-crisis and analysts saying Mr Kaczynski's stance is a bargaining tool for foreign policy concessions.
  • Mr Kaczynski is fighting to win oversight powers on Polish government behaviour in EU negotiations and to get government approval to host a US missile shield. The Lisbon row also generates momentum for his flagging conservative opposition party, as campaigning slowly begins for the 2009 European Parliament elections. "If Lech Kaczynski signs the treaty it will be a victory for [Polish liberal Prime Minister Donald] Tusk. So the president wants his own victory by winning concessions from the liberals," Polish Institute of Political Sciences analyst Kazimierz Kik told AFP.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.07.08: Polish president declines to sign EU treaty - 0 views

  • The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, has indicated he will not sign the Lisbon treaty until Ireland gets over its No vote, dealing a strong blow to EU attempts to revive the pact. German ratification also went on hold Monday (30 June), pending a Constitutional Court decision early next year.
  • The Polish parliament passed the treaty in April, but Mr Kaczynski must now sign a Ratification Act to finalise the process. The president told Dziennik his general approach to EU diplomacy is to give Poland more clout by protecting national interests at every turn. "My politics is a way to make sure the telephone number of the Polish president or prime minister is frequently used by Berlin, Paris, London or other capitals," he said.
  • "The principle of unanimity is binding here," he added, explaining that Poland must protect small EU countries' rights as it is not a major power itself. "If the principle of unanimity is broken once it will cease to exist forever. We are too weak to accept this kind of solution."
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  • The Lisbon treaty had already suffered a fresh setback on Monday, when German President Horst Koehler refused to sign the document until the country's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe rules on two legal challenges by right-wing MP Peter Gauweiler and leftist party Die Linke (The Left).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.06.08: Doubts emerging over Poland's ratification of the Lisbon treaty - 0 views

  • Poland is emerging as another potential problem for Lisbon Treaty ratification, with the office of the president - who has yet to sign off on the document - beginning to publicly argue that the EU pact is dead following the Irish No. "There are a lot of indications that...the Lisbon Treaty today doesn't exist in a legal sense because one of the [EU] countries rejected its ratification," presidential aide Michal Kaminski told Poland's Radio ZET on Sunday (22 June).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.06.08: Germany, Poland say EU treaty ratification should continue without isolating ... - 0 views

  • The German and Polish leaders said Monday that European Union countries should press ahead with ratifying the reform treaty rejected by Irish voters, but vowed not to isolate Ireland as they seek a way out of the crisis. The charter, meant to replace the failed EU constitution, was rejected in an Irish referendum on Thursday _ the only popular vote planned in the bloc. The treaty requires the ratification of all 27 EU members, leaving EU leaders scrambling to salvage their reform plans.
  • She also argued that the treaty is vital to further expansion of the EU into the western Balkans, whose stability is critical to Europe's well-being. «We need the Lisbon Treaty because we want to expand the EU,» she said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.06.08: Sarkozy heads to Prague for emergency EU treaty talks - 0 views

  • French president Nicolas Sarkozy will today (16 June) fly to Prague for emergency talks on the Lisbon Treaty with the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, with Czech president Vaclav Klaus declaring the treaty dead after the Irish No vote. "The project is over in its entirety," Czech president Vaclav Klaus said after the rejection of the EU pact by Irish voters last week, AFP reports. "It makes no sense to continue the ratification of a dead document."
  • The Czech Republic will take over the EU's rotating presidency from France on 1 January 2009. So far, parliaments in 18 EU member states have approved the Lisbon treaty. The UK has also indicated it would proceed with the document's ratification.
  • Meanwhile, an adviser to Polish president Lech Kaczynski – who still has to complete Poland's ratification by signing the document – has said that Mr Kaczynski should know whether the Lisbon treaty exists before he goes forward. "For now, there is a strong suggestion the treaty may have ceased to exist as it was rejected by one [EU] country," the presidential aide, Michal Kaminski, told Polish daily Rzeczpospolita. The Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, is strongly pro-ratification, however. A TNS OBOP opinion poll over the weekend said 71 percent of Poles would back the treaty if there was a referendum in Poland.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.05.08: Poland and Sweden defend 'Eastern initiative - 0 views

  • A new proposal by Sweden and Poland to strengthen the EU's ties with its eastern neighbours to be officially presented today is not meant to undermine but rather enhance existing EU policies, according to a draft paper obtained by EurActiv.
  • Mirroring the countries already covered by the ENP scheme, the new initiative aims to improve ties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and particularly Ukraine. The draft paper suggests that a new Enhanced Partnership Agreement (EPA) currently being negotiated with Ukraine "could serve as a reference" for other countries. 
  • The new initiative is seen as a complement to the French-driven 'Union for the Mediterranean' proposal, but unlike the original French vision, the Polish-Swedish proposal clearly states that it would be embedded into existing EU structures and does not seek additional funding but is financed solely out of the ENP budget.
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  • Links Governments Ukrainian Mission to the EU: STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF UKRAINE REGARDING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EASTERN DIMENSION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN POLICY Joint Polish-Swedish proposal Draft Paper
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.05.08: Pland and Sweden to pitch 'Eastern Partnership" idea - 0 views

  • Poland and Sweden are to unveil joint proposals for a new eastern Europe policy at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (26 May), in a mini-version of France's "Mediterranean Union." The "Eastern Partnership" envisages a multinational forum between the EU-27 and neighbouring states Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Polish press agency PAP reports.
  • The forum would aim to negotiate visa-free travel deals, free trade zones for services and agricultural products and strategic partnership agreements with the five countries. It would also launch smaller, bilateral projects on student exchange, environmental protection and energy supply, but would avoid the controversial topic of EU membership perspectives.
  • Unlike the grander Mediterranean club, the eastern set-up would not have its own secretariat but would be run by the European Commission and financed from the 2007 to 2013 European neighbourhood policy budget. A commission official would be appointed as its "special coordinator."
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