Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Poland is now officially taking the relations of the new EU with Eastern Europe

Adelina Marini, Ralitsa Kovacheva, February 14, 2011

Poland's role in the relations with Eastern-European countries is extremely important and this is why Germany and France intend to enhance the cooperation between the European Union and its Eastern partners with Poland's assistance. This is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during her visit in Warsaw on Tuesday (February 8th). The summit in the Polish capital, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Weimar Triangle (France, Germany and Poland), took place just days after the European Council on February 4th when the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk left enraged because of the split, inspired by France and Germany with the idea to create a Pact for Competitiveness.

It was why Ms Angela Merkel and Mr Nicolas Sarkozy were in Warsaw - to seek Poland's support for the Pact. The reason is that within the European Union Poland is a good example - with a disciplined budgetary policy and a legal ceiling on the permissible level of new debt. The country's perspectives to join the planned Pact for Competitiveness of the euro area countries, are good, Angela Merkel thinks.

"We would be delighted to have Poland on board, because it is a country that is keen to embrace reform, a country that has a tradition of consolidation", the chancellor added, thus confirming euinside's predictions as of June last year, that the best were on their way of creating a Super League. Further on in the press release it is explained that the purpose of the pact is the efforts of France and Germany to coordinate the economic and financial policy of the euro zone states more closely. Among the proposals is strengthening of coordination on old age pensions, fiscal policy and wages policy.

At the same time, but in Brussels, at a session of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament the Bulgarian MEP from the group of Socialists and Democrats, Ivaylo Kalfin, posed a question to the European Council president, Herman van Rompuy, on the Pact for Competitiveness. According to Mr Kalfin the proposed changes "separate the countries of the eurozone from the rest, the creation of clubs of the chosen within the Union that would substitute the common decision making". In his response Herman van Rompuy stated that the countries outside the eurozone would be consulted on the preparation of the plan and that under specific conditions they would be able to join, the Delegation of the Bulgarian Socialists in the European Parliament reported.

Although it is still not clear what these "specific conditions" will be, that would allow the countries outside the euro area to join the pact, Bulgaria has already announced its intentions in the spirit of the Franco-German proposals. Even the name of the document, being prepared by the Ministry of Finance, is eloquent - A Pact for Financial Stability. It envisages a ceiling to be introduced on the permissible budget deficit (stricter than the Maastricht criterion of 3% of GDP), to limit the state's distributing role as a share of the forecast GDP and, also, any changes in the direct taxation to be endorsed by a two thirds qualified majority in Parliament. The aim of the measures is the Pact for Financial Stability to be enshrined in the Constitution.

As it became clear during the European Council, the Pact for Competitiveness was open for everyone. Well, it leaves the impression that some are being invited personally (Poland) because of promising efforts in the area of reforms. In fact, the invitation for Poland to join the European engine is not an accident for another reason too. Warsaw, for quite some time, is playing the role of a leader of the new member states with numerous initiatives and persistent positions on important EU issues.

France and Germany seek Poland' support in the area of defence too. This issue was discussed between Nicolas Sarkozy and Bronislaw Komorowski as both underlined how important the increasing of cooperation on issues related to defence are. The Polish head of state defended the idea of a deeper integration of the policies of security and defence.

The three governments (France, Germany and Poland) will work together for widening their cooperation at a youth level. Joint work is planned on training young diplomats. Poland's inclusion in the Franco-German television network Arte was also discussed.

Poland will take over the Presidency of the European Union on July 1st and some ambitious points in the agenda of the 6-month presidency have already been announced. One of these ambitious goals will be increasing cooperation between Russia and the European Union. The summit of the Triangle also made it clear that a summit in the same format was planned with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. A similar summit took place in the end of last year just before the October European Council, however without Poland, in the French town of Deauville where precisely security and defence were discussed.

The Weimar Triangle was established in 1991 by the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland. The initiative was aimed at boosting the process of reconciliation between Germany and Poland, as well as to assist Poland's accession to the European Union, which happened in 2004. The summit in Warsaw on February 8th was the seventh of the heads of state and government of the three countries and the first in five years.