|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.34, 20.9.01, p13|
POLISH diplomats are worried that the European Commission's annual enlargement report could reflect badly on the country because its preparations for EU entry have been sidetracked by campaigning for its general election on Sunday (23 September).
Due to be unveiled by Commissioner Gunter Verheugen in November, the report is supposed to take account only of progress made until the end of this month. But the Poles are pleading with the Union's executive to allow for a last-minute change if the incoming government - widely expected to be led by Leszek Miller's Democratic Left Alliance [SLD] - injects fresh impetus into the process.
Warsaw is optimistic that talks on bringing Polish environmental law into line with the EU could provisionally be closed in October. This is expected to involve EU negotiators accepting a request by the outgoing coalition headed by Solidarity's Jerzy Buzek to grant transition periods for implementing ten of the most difficult pieces of legislation, including those on water quality and waste management.
Major hurdles still have to be overcome, however, with some of the other 'chapters' - particularly those involving taxation, company law and agriculture. Warsaw fears that cigarette prices would almost double and the future of small tobacco companies in the impoverished east of the country would be jeopardised if the Union insists Poland adopts the same excise duties regime as existing member states. "The Belgian presidency seems quite keen to strike a deal on this issue - possibly one for all candidate countries," remarked one diplomat. On company law, the Poles fear that a rigid application of EU intellectual property rules would undermine the production of generic medicines, thereby triggering steep price rises for pharmaceutical products.
The issue is acutely sensitive in Poland - the country has the highest rate for the consumption of medicines in Europe after France. Some progress is expected in the imminent talks on food safety but the wider question of how the EU's farm support regime can be extended to Poland's two million farmers will remain fraught for some time.
Polish diplomats are worried that the European Commission's annual enlargement report could reflect badly on the country because its preparations for EU entry have been sidetracked by campaigning for its general election on 23 September 2001.
|Countries / Regions||Poland|