Following a visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Warsaw on 16-17 March, Poland agreed to back the Berlin Declaration despite the absence of a mention of Christianity in the text, clearing the way for the Treaty of Rome’s 50th anniversay celebrations to take place later this week.
President Lech Kaczynski told a national TV station that Poland would sign the Berlin Declaration, which will mark the EU’s 50th anniversary on 25 March 2007.
“We have reservations concerning some parts of the declaration, but if Poland does not sign it, we would be the only country in the EU not to do so,” Kaczynski said.
Poland had voiced its discontent over the fact that there will be no direct reference made to god or Christianity in the anniversary declaration, but the German Presidency wants to keep the text vague and short to avoid dissension.
The declaration is set to underline the EU’s historic achievements, its common values, as well as future challenges, but also set the direction for a new treaty to settle the institutional impasse. However, the declaration will not directly mention the EU Constitution, according to German officials.
Meanwhile, citizens seem to have mixed feelings towards the EU itself. According to a recent FT/Harris poll undertaken in the five largest member states, 25% of those questioned thought their country had benefited from joining the EU, whereas 44% thought their country was worse off since joining the Union. The poll also found that people associated the EU with the common market (20%) and bureaucracy (20%) rather than democracy (9%).
However, another French poll on cultural heritage seems to be more optimistic. The poll conducted by the Ipsos institute in five European countries shows that more than half (58%) of the respondents thought that Europe helped to protect their national heritage.