Analysis: The Future of the EU Constitution – a strategy for Poland

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Poland should prepare for the discussions about the future of the Constitutional Treaty (CT) that will take place after the reflection period, it is argued in the common paper the Institute of Public Affairs (ISP) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM).

Summary:

The reflection period on the future of the Constitutional Treaty showed that the political discussion on the future of the CT received a lukewarm response in Poland. However, the Constitutional Treaty, as signed by Poland in October 2004, cannot be ignored, especially in view of upcoming debates and initiatives taken by the European Commission and plans of the German Presidency in the first part of 2007. Regardless of the final decision on the Treaty, Poland has to draw conclusions from the past negotiations on the Treaty and adopt a proactive strategy.

The authors point at several factors that should be taken into account by Polish decision-makers, the most important one being the ongoing ratification process in some EU member states, despite the official reflection period. Therefore the Treaty cannot be claimed invalid; instead, Polish authorities should prepare positions on several possible scenarios for its future, with the provisions of the CT serving as a starting point.

The paper issues recommendations for the Polish strategy: Poland should stand by the provision of double majority voting and not go back to the Nice Treaty discussions. It should view the decision-making process in terms of the ability to create effective coalitions rather than calculate the number of votes. Poland should clearly identify its areas of interest and particular provisions that it wants to see adopted. By showing openness to discussions, Poland would underline that it is willing to move forward with institutional reforms and ready to discuss all options for the future reform.

Polish authorities also need to take into account the general support of Polish public opinion for the EU membership and for the idea of a European constitution. Lack of a clear debate on the subject did not allow the society to express its stance towards the Treaty. The authors thus urge the authorities to allow citizens to present their views in a referendum that would be binding for the Polish parliament. Last but not least, proactive and constructive attitudes during the debate on the CT could prove the consistency of Polish vision for ‘European Solidarity’ and gain support for it among other EU member states.

 

Read the report here

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