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Polish president: Ratifying EU treaty 'pointless'

    16 January 2021 Saturday

    Ratifying the European Union's reform treaty after Irish voters rejected it last month would be "pointless," Poland's president was quoted as saying Tuesday.

    Poland's President Lech Kaczynski meets his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Warsaw.
    Poland's President Lech Kaczynski meets his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Warsaw.

    President Lech Kaczynski said that "for the time being, the question of the treaty is pointless," according to an interview published Tuesday in the Dziennik daily.

    The Polish president's comments were reported on the day France takes over the EU's six-month rotating presidency. Ireland, the only country to put the treaty to a public vote, rejected the treaty in a referendum on June 12.

    Poland's parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing the president to ratify the treaty in April, but it still needs the president's signature to take effect.

    Asked whether he will sign the Lisbon Treaty, Kaczynski was quoted as saying: "Right now it's pointless."

    The president's stance puts him at odds with the country's prime minister, Donald Tusk.

    Tusk, who has heads the rival Civic Platform party and has frequently clashed with Kaczynski over foreign policy issues, reiterated his government's strong support for the treaty and urged the president to put the final stamp on the document.

    "Signing the Lisbon treaty -- the last step in ratification -- is in Poland's interest and it is difficult for us to accept a situation in which Poland can find itself needlessly set beside Ireland," Tusk said.

    The EU commission agreed, and pointed to Kaczynski's role in helping strike a final deal on the treaty.

    "Poland, like the other member states, has signed the treaty and has committed to ratify and I would remind you incidentally that the president of Poland was a main actor in the negotiations of the treaty," said European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen.

    EU leaders have agreed that member countries should continue ratifying the treaty, and delayed any decisions on how to overcome the Irish rejection until October.

    But Kaczynski rejected suggestions that the treaty's struggles spell the end for the 27-nation bloc.

    "The EU functioned, functions and will continue to function. Of course, it's not ideal, but a structure as complicated as this can't be ideal," he said. "It is not serious to say that since there's no treaty, there is also no EU."

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last month that the bloc must stop accepting new members until it resolves the crisis.

    The treaty, which took years to draft and was signed last year in Portugal, aims to streamline the way the bloc makes decisions and to bolster its powers in such areas as immigration and fighting crime.

    It also aims to make the EU's foreign policy more effective with the creation of an EU president and single envoy to represent the bloc abroad.

    The treaty can only take effect in 2009 if ratified by all 27 EU states. To date, 18 have done so


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