Poland’s EU Presidency – no fireworks, no slip-ups
15 December 2011
Rzeczpospolita, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Gazeta Wyborcza
With Poland coming to the end of its six month stint at the helm of the EU rotating presidency, the national press discusses the country’s achievements and failures during the period.
“Poland has made it”, opens a Gazeta Wyborcza editorial. For the Warsaw daily columnist Jacek Pawlicki, the key achievements of the Polish presidency include “agreement on a single EU patent and the signing of the accession treaty with Croatia”, while its biggest failure was the breakdown of the EU’s Eastern policy – as evidenced by Poland and the union’s helplessness towards the Lukashenko regime in Belarus and the Yulia Tymoshenko show-trial in Ukraine. But Poland has done a good job as -
... one of the last guardians of the outgoing European Community Union. The crisis has exposed a rift in Europe and [the continent’s] shift towards what’s officially dubbed ‘intergovernmental union’, and which actually spells a return to the precedence of national interests over a common European interest. […] The six months of the Polish presidency of the European Council may have been the most difficult period in the history of the project due to the eurozone crisis. There were no fireworks, but no slip-ups either.
For conservative Rzeczpospolita commentator Igor Janke, it has been a “facade presidency”, with the decision centre not with the country holding the presidency, nor with the Council of the European Union, the European Commission or the European Parliament, but in the two capitals – Berlin and Paris:
Today we already know that for half a year, Poland has been a conference centre hosting a great number of conferences, negotiations, and meetings. We’ve covered a lot of office work, a good deal of subject-matter work, but that has had little to do with actual governing.
A Dziennik Gazeta Prawna editorial opines that the Polish government -
... has invigorated the atmosphere around the Presidency. Unnecessarily. It does not make sense to arouse great expectations around a function that, by definition, is devoid of any glamour. [...] Just one example for those who naively believe that Poland has been the navel of the EU these six months - last Friday, the main global TV networks were broadcasting the joint press conference by Tusk, Barroso, and Rompuy [...] until the moment Angela Merkel opened her own meeting with the media. [Then] even that irritatingly and overly Euro-enthusiastic of channels Euronews switched from Tusk-Barroso-Rompuy to Merkel.