Nice or bust: the Polish position after the Brussels Summit

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Publication Date December 2003
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Article abstract:

The paper states that Poland appears determined to maintain its uncompromising position following the failure of the Brussels Summit to reach agreement on the draft constitution. Both the government and opposition are declaring that no compromise is possible other than to wait until at least 2009 before deciding whether to change the Nice voting system. Fears still linger in Poland of a dominant Germany in Europe. And Poland's Government is afraid of the political effects of claims German citizens might make on Poland for property lost since 1939 once the country joins the EU. But in fact, Poland appears to be fighting to retain the ability to block EU decisions - which the Nice formula enables - in order to be able to reverse the stringent financial terms it was handed at the Copenhagen Summit. This combination of a united political class backed by the population and opinion-makers makes it difficult to see what kind of compromise on the constitution can be worked out in the coming months. It appears that Poland is boxing itself into a British position in terms of public opinion: opinion polls show that Polish support for pro-European policies is falling. Last July, 57% per cent of Poles thought that EU membership was a good thing, but that figure slipped to 40% in November 2003.

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