Poland supports the 'Community method' of EU-decision-making, recently defended by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso against attempts by France and Germany to revert to intergovernmental methods, Polish State Secretary for European Affairs Mikołaj Dowgielewicz told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.
The European institutions have remained effective throughout the economic and financial crises, which is "a very important lesson," Dowgielewicz said.
He backed Commission President Barroso in defending the Community method against Franco-German attempts to dictate reforms in the euro zone.
The Polish minister is well known in Brussels as a former Commission official and is expected to play a key role during the upcoming Polish EU Presidency starting on 1 July.
"I agree with Mr Barroso that the Community method is something we should cherish and protect, because that's the way the Community method has been the cornerstone of the Union's success since the beginning – and it's the right framework for the future as well," Dowgielewicz said.
Regarding the EU's long-term budget, on which the Commission is expected to table proposals by June 2011, Dowgielewicz said Poland would wait until the EU executive had presented its plans before addressing the matter.
Poland's stint at the EU helm, in the second half of the year, marks a time when "principles" about the next EU budget will be discussed, he said, expressing hope that these would be "modern" and "ambitious".
But he added that discussions over the budget would continue into 2012, adding that he expected countries to reach an agreement in June 2012, under the Danish Presidency.
Dowgielewicz said the most important priority of the Polish Presidency was economic growth, followed by the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy, energy policy and enlargement. He said Warsaw was hoping that Croatia will sign its accession treaty during the Polish Presidency.
Asked about Ukraine, he said that he hoped that an Association Agreement could be signed with Kyiv during Warsaw's stint at the EU helm, but made it clear that this would be an ambitious goal.
Asked about France and Germany's blockage of Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen area, he adopted a cautious tone, saying both countries should be able to join once they have fulfilled the necessary criteria.
Dowgielewicz said the fact that Poland is set to hold parliamentary elections in October should pose no risk for the Polish Presidency. In any case, it has already been decided that should the need arise, the current government will remain in a caretaker capacity until the last session of the European Parliament in December, he said.