Bogusław Kowalski

During the meeting of ministers of the EU environment, the representative of Poland vetoed the proposal of imposing further requirements in the sphere of the reduction of carbon dioxide emission on the EU membership countries. For, it attacks the basic interests of the Polish economy, which is based on energy received from coal. This event coincided with signing the EU fiscal pact in a form contradictive with Polish interests. The Polish veto was somehow an answer to the pact. In this way, despite the support of Berlin by Donald Tusk in the foreign policy, there appear actual coincidences of interests in the Polish and German relations. Additionally they are deepened by the neglect of the attitude of the Polish government.

EU officiousness

Poland vetoed the proposal of the European Commission of introducing the so-called mile steps, gradually leading into the reduction of carbon dioxide in the EU till 2050. Brussels, in the agreement with Denmark, which is representative in the EU Council at present, wanted to reduce the emission by 40% till the year 2030, and by 60% till 2040, and by 80% till the year 2050 in comparison with the level of the emission in 1990. Poland agreed on the last suggestion but now it does not accept the transitional phases. Our delegation noted that the European Commission has not got the analysis of the influence of such a procedure on particular countries and economy sectors yet. Besides, the whole EU is still before the global negotiations, without which the actions only in one part of the world will not give any effects because the polluted air is going to pass over the boundaries of the countries anyway. If we want to gain a positive effect, the definite majority of the most important countries must act in solidarity and not only the EU. The quick action will be ineffective not only for the environment but also harmful for economy, mainly for Poland. Our energetics, despite many investments already realized and planned, leading to diversification of petrol very soon, will be based mainly on coal for a long time. And its burning releases the biggest emission of the carbon dioxide. The restrictive policy proposed by the European Commission will lead quickly to another significant increase of energy prices. And, as a result, it will decrease the competition of economy and will increase the costs of maintaining the population. When such actions concern only the EU, the whole industry of energy-intensity will be transferred to neighbouring countries but not the ones belonging to the EU, such as Russia, Ukraine, Turkey or Northern Africa, increasing the number of the unemployed on our area. These plans are so obviously harmful for us that in the Seym, from the initiative of Professor Jan Szyszka, a parliamentarian of the Law and Justice Party, there appeared an initiative of obliging the government to renegotiate the contracts included in this matter so far. However, the suitable law project was rejected by the votes of the parliamentarians of the coalition of the Civic Platform and the Polish People’s Party.

Polish and German tensions

So, Polish veto is fully justified. But in the light of the previous foreign policy, whose symbol was the opinion of Minister Radosław Sikorski in Berlin, calling the Germans to impose their leadership in Europe, a bit surprising though. Such resolute devices like veto have been avoided so far, and the decisions of ministry were preferred, especially that in this issue like environmental decisions, very important for the German public opinion and the German policy. Therefore, the Polish ‘No’ should be treated as an answer to signing a fiscal pact a few days before. After many months of discussions and consultations it was finally accepted in a form of completely ignoring the attitude of Poland.

For, the EU countries, which do not have the common currency, can join the fiscal pact, but without any influence on decisions made on the basis of the pact. In fact it is the confirmation of the division of the EU into two categories of membership and practical realisation of the vision of the European integration based on the so-called hard gist of the matter. The attempts of the Polish government in order to be included in this group, at least in the limited range, failed. And it happened so because of the attitude of Germany which did not support our aspirations. In the context of the pronouncement of the Polish chief of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Berlin, the ‘black soup’ for the government in Warsaw was extremely painful. So, it had to meet with a reaction. So, the occasion was used and the attitude towards the emission of the carbon dioxide was strengthened. Unfortunately, without the negotiations included in this matter of contracts, the veto is not going to bring any benefits apart from a temporary demonstration of discontent. Apart from that, it was proved by the commissioner of the EU for a fight against the warming up of the climate – Connie Hedegaard who stated: ‘Poland was the only blocking country. The Danish presidency and other 26 membership countries clearly addressed the Commission in order to go further, which we will do, as well’. So, an explicit question must be asked to the Prime Minister Tusk: what does his government expect in return for the resignation from the veto? Is it about the protection of the Polish economy or about the support in order to take over the post of the chairman of the European Commission by him in 2014? And when one of these options is chosen, what will he choose?


"Niedziela" 14/2012

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl