Saturday, December 02, 2006

Is Poland the new UK?

You could forgive those poor old hapless Eurocrats on the EU Commission for thinking so.

It used to be Maggie Thatcher who wound up Brussels, insisting on a single currency opt out and many other intransigent demands.

The slightly batty old ‘iron handbag’s’ catch phrase when dealing with the EU was simply, “No, no, no…”

Well, now it’s Warsaw getting the ‘trouble maker’ tag. The Russian veto over the Polish-Russian meat wars (‘Nie, nie, nie!) is only the latest in a long line of stubborness from the Poles. EU Observer reminds us that:

In the past 12 months Poland's cry of "solidarity" [from Brussels to the other new EU members] has erupted over labour market access, the services directive, a German-Russian gas pipeline and the Schengen zone. Its budget deficit is breaking EU rules. Its plan to hold a referendum on eurozone entry is unpopular and in January it alone vetoed VAT reforms.

Tusk, tusk. Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said this week that he doesn’t envisage a referendum on the single currency till 2011. Brussels bit back by saying that Poland’s budget deficit will be 4% in 2007 one percent above the magic 3% that is stipulated in the sexy sounding Growth and Stability pact, which tries to keep high spending governments in line (and there is a long line of those).

But having Poland as the bad boy only partially deflects criticism from Brussels itself – which, since people in Holland and France told it where to stick its silly ‘EU Constitution’, hasn’t known what to do with itself. Now its only relevance, apparently, is to lecture Poland (and now Turkey) on what democracy looks like (quite forgetting that you cannot impose democracy).

Maybe Brussels should take a good hard look in the mirror a bit more often, and democratize itself.


Anonymous said...

Brussels is hardly an example of an accountable democracy in action. Poor leadership, knee jerk reactions and no long-term view, highlight this incomplete structure. As long as Europeans can’t decide on the structure of the EU i.e. no constitution, this is as good as it gets. Until there is the political will to go to the next step we continue to muddle along and nation states should exercise they’re common sense and say no to stupid ideas

beatroot said...

Yeah, but what is the next step? They go on about a common Foreign Policy but they can;t even decide about whether the word 'Christian' should be in the 'contitution'. I hope the next step is some kind of an economic union with all the rest of the nonsense chucked out. Those things should be decided by national parliaments, otherwise nobody is going to re-engage with politics.

Anonymous said...

The next step is more emotional than political; we have to admit that we stand in a grey zone half way to a federalist European state. We didn’t get there by design we just advanced there as a logical consequence of economic integration. To move to next level requires the rethink of the nation state and a constitution, not the joke Brussels came up with. The shear size of the document Brussels came up with, guaranteed its rejection. A short document understandable to all outlining obligations, rights and accountability was all that was necessary. The alternative is to carry on with things as is and except the current situation and the corresponding limitations.