Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Poland’s EU Presidency

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 8th July, 2011

Poland took over the presidency of the European Union on 1 July and the last few days have seen a positive feast of commemorative events put on by the Polish Embassy in London. On Wednesday there was a glorious reception in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and today the Embassy building itself hosted an academic seminar on Politics and Presidency Priorities with a range of distinguised speakers, including former Prime Minister Kyzysztof  Bielecki. He spoke of the need to rearrange expectations: in other words, Poland is a medium-sozed European country that is not part of the eurozone, which must face up to the challenges of a weakening of Brussels institutions alongside increasingly parochial national governments. That might sound downbeat, but the gist of his argument — and that of others — was that Poland can and must stand up to the challenges, especially the economic challenges. The government in Warsaw has the comforting knowledge that over 80% of the Polish public believe in European integration and are in effect cheering ‘PL2011’ on from the sidelines. In the afternoon at today’s seminar, an interesting session focused on how Poland can help promote one particular agenda item on the EU’s to do list, namely upgrading the Eastern European partnership with Ukraine, Moldova and — with certain caveats — Belarus.

Links: www.PL2011.eu

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