The end of the year 2011 also marked the conclusion of the first Polish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The past six months were seen by Warsaw as a first test of the country's capacity to play in the big league on the European scene. With the overhanging shadow of an unprecedented economic and political crisis in which doubts about the EU have spread like wildfire, Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the Polish Presidency as "refreshing" for promoting during its six-month term its more Europe' message. "This political contribution is more important even than various concrete results," said the president of the European Commission. Donald Tusk's government took the helm of the Council with a double message for its European partners: the solution to the crisis is more European integration; and Poland now wants to be part of the avant-garde of the building of the Union. For Poland it was a historic turning point.


Barely a year and a half after their accession to the EU, the Polish - reputed (fairly or unfairly) to be Atlanticists - brought to power an ultra-Conservative and deeply Eurosceptic duo. The policy pursued by the Kaczynski brothers traumatised Brussels and was far from being the best way into the European club. But now it is clear that the Kaczynski brothers' chapter is closed and, furthermore, that Poland is looking in the direction of Brussels more than it is looking in the direction of Washington. The clear victory of the outgoing majority in October is proof of this: the country is enjoying unrivalled political stability and has reaffirmed its trust in its prime minister, who defines himself as a European idealist. It is remarkable that the Euro-enthusiast approach of Donald Tusk reflects the feeling of the people he represents. Some 83% of the Poles feel that the country's integration into the EU is a positive thing and 40% go so far as to say that they have personally benefited from it. A total of 38% of Polish citizens are in favour a reinforced European integration, while 34% are in favour of as much independence as possible for their country within the EU. In the current debate on institutional reform, Tusk's speech before the European Parliament in December and the speech made by the head of diplomacy, Radoslaw Sikorski, in Berlin had one big point in common: whatever the shape of the future Union, Poland wants to be at the centre of it, not on the sidelines.


In the years to come...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT