Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz confirmed that Poland along with other Central European states is unwilling to approve candidates for top positions in the EU who have come into conflict with governments in the region.
Mr Czaputowicz, in an interview published on Monday in the weekly “Sieci” made clear that Poland agreed with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that candidates who do not show respect to the sensitivities and interests of Central Europe will not receive Poland’s support. Mr Czaputowicz made his remarks after the EU summit last week at which no conclusion was reached on top jobs such as the Presidencies of both the European Commission and the European Council. The issue will be discussed once more at a special summit convened for Sunday 30 June.
The Polish MFA would not be drawn on the names of candidates Poland would support. “ We will support candidates who are willing to realize our vision of the EU. But please do not ask me about specific names”.
The candidate who seems the least acceptable in Poland and Hungary is Frans Timmermans, whereas the candidate that has attracted most positive comments so far is Dalia Gybrauskaite (reported to be in the running for the job of President of the European Council). Mr Timmermans has irritated both the Polish and Hungarian governments with his persistent attempts to activate Article 7 proceedings alleging both countries are violating the rule of law.
Mr Czaputowicz indicated that the present government was confident about its position in the EU after the results of the European elections in Poland. “”Our partners are aware that there is a high likelihood that Law and Justice (PiS) will continue in office. Our position in the EU is strong, despite what the opposition claims “, he said.
There has been a tradition that top jobs in the EU are decided on the basis of unanimity in the European Council. But according to the Lisbon Treaty what is legally required is a qualified majority.
This is why in order to exert influence over the process, Poland has to act together with other Central European countries. This cooperation between Central European countries was successful in changing migration policies inside the EU, but it has on other occasions fallen apart over divergent economic interests or pressures from West European member states being applied.
In the end, a compromise will have to be struck. One in which all parts of the EU; the east, west and south, get a part of what they wanted.