Leaders meet as Poland gears up for EU helm

7th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The leaders of Germany, France and Poland began a meeting in Warsaw of the so-called Weimar Triangle grouping as Poland prepares to take over the European Union's rotating presidency in July.

"The meeting of the three European leaders will send a clear signal of a politically strong Europe," a senior Polish diplomat told AFP ahead of the meeting.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski are to focus on the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the 27-member bloc's relations with eastern neighbours Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as well as on developments in the Middle East and North Africa, the source said.

"The Weimar Triangle is an important instrument which can strengthen the Polish presidency of the European Union," the source added.

The last such heads of state summit of the Weimar Triangle -- a forum created in 1991 to help Poland make the transition from communism to democracy and a market economy -- took place in December 2006 in Germany.

"The EU's security and defence policy" does not entirely meet Polish expectations, Komorowski told Poland's top-circulation Gazeta Wyborcza daily ahead of the Monday summit.

"After a period of promising development in the first years of the previous decade, it sank into a phase of stagnation," he said.

Poland, Germany and France are currently working on creating a tactical military grouping by 2013.

Merkel and Sarkozy were meeting Komorowski as the 17-nation eurozone gears up for a special March summit spearheaded by Berlin and Paris to finalise efforts to avoid a fresh debt crisis.

Poland, which takes over the EU's rotating presidency in July for six months, is not yet a eurozone member.

In light of the debt crisis sweeping the 17-member single currency bloc, Warsaw has taken a cautious approach to setting a target entry date.

As the summit got under way Monday, about 200 Solidarity trade unionists rallied outside Warsaw's 17th century royal Wilanow palace, protesting moves by French electricity giant EDF to take over Poland's Enea state-controlled energy group.

© 2011 AFP

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