Poland must not block EU reforms, Sarkozy says

13th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

WARSAW, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - Poland must not block moves to reform the European Union's governing treaty to insist that it gets its way on changing the bloc's voting mechanism, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview published here Wednesday.

WARSAW, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - Poland must not block moves to reform the European Union's governing treaty to insist that it gets its way on changing the bloc's voting mechanism, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview published here Wednesday.

"If you were a small country, you could have been insistent (on changing the voting system) because your identity would have been at stake," Sarkozy said in an interview published in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily on the eve of a visit to Poland.

"But you are a large country and you are obliged to play together with the other large European countries," the French head of state said.

"A large European country cannot say, 'I have fewer responsibilities, I can put up a blockade'. Poland cannot block the EU," Sarkozy said.

Poland's ruling twins -- President Lech Kaczynski and his identical twin, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski -- have taken a hard line with the EU on changes to the voting system.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has repeatedly said Poland is "willing to die" to get the voting system it wants in the 27-member bloc.

"Poland will never accept, under any pretext, the system that has been put on the table to us," Kaczynski said on public radio on Tuesday.

Warsaw wants the voting system to be based on the square root of the number, in millions, of the population of each member state, not on the current method of a qualified majority.

Germany, which holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of next month, when it hands over to Portugal, is trying to steer a course through the different opinions of the EU members on how to draft a new treaty that would replace the constitution, which was dealt a deathblow in 2005 when it was rejected in French and Dutch referendums.

Berlin plans to submit a list of topics that would be discussed by an inter-governmental conference to EU members at a summit meeting to be held in Brussels on June 20-21.

But Poland has threatened to prevent the conference from getting down to business if the list of topics for debate does not meet with its approval, in particular its demand that the EU voting mechanism be revised.

"A square root system? I don't agree with that," Sarkozy said in Gazeta Wyborcza, which published extracts of an interview with the French president.

The full interview will be published Thursday, when Sarkozy visits Poland.

The French president is expected to hold talks and a working lunch with his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, following by a meeting with Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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