At the time Poland sought accession into the EU, I was skeptical about the communitarian spirit of the Polish state hence if I had bee in a position to make a decision I would not have negotiated with Poland, at all. In casual discussions I had with friends during the accession negotiations (winter 2004) my position was oddly unbending. I thought that Poland would bring hard feelings to the surface whenever difficult negotiations on matters of substance were discussed: especially if there was any matter where Germany was concerned. The Danzig corridor, war reparations – for both sides – to name just two. My feeling was that the negotiations had shown how difficult it was to involve Poland in civilized horse trading. The last minute fiasco in which Poland threatened to scupper the whole accession process was unseemly having sought out the aid of the Iberian countries – and getting it albeit with cold feet on both sides. The whipping boy – er – red flag – for Poland is Germany. In a nutshell Poland’s problem is Germany.
Today, or rather this week, the same kind of poker face horse-trading taking place in Germany (because Germany is President of the rotating EU presidency) has shown how right I was in my estimation. The Polish Prime Minister, Jarosław Kaczyński, brought a new meaning to horse trading ethos when interviewed on Polish radio he stated that … had Germany not started WWII then Poland’s population would be 66 million. The reference to the number of citizens is the key issue because the large countries (read Germany, France, Italy, GB) want to change the voting system in the Council of Ministers so that is more fairly respresents their population base. The present square root/double majority system is a relic of the Coal and Steel Community, imposed on Germany to so as to give France a large baton by which to keep Germany subued. Sum sumarum, Germany wants more power because it has more people. "We will die first, before we give up the status quo." was the tone of the Polish position. If and when Germany accrues any more influence with the new system, Poland will be ready to pounce. This certainly happen in 2014 if not earlier. If the Polish twins – Tweedledeedee and Twiddledeedum – really wsant to raise hackles, they will do it during the Portuguese Presidency.
Poland’s position is helpful to the the smaller countries but one wonders if Poland has done a disservice to these countries by acting out frustration in such a churlish manner. Oh well, even the Poles know that it is quite odd that Poland holds the voting right as as Germany although it has half the population of its western neighbour and moreover, the Poles themselves chortle at the antics of their Faux Pas Twins.
Whereas the Polish Prime Minister slushed around in his own skid marks – the Polish government thought that by sending his twin, the President Lech Kaczyński, to Germany, negotiations could be continued … because … according to some, his screeching is less grating than his twin brother. Or to use of another animal metaphor – canine not bovine – his mouth is softer that that of his brother.
Yesterday, the whole sordid seraglio was closed down, and Poland was not invited. Germany’s Merkel decided that if Poland was not going to play ball then could sit and watch as a spectator and perhaps, if the auguries warrant it, it could negotiate at a later date. Simsalabim, the cards folded, and tweedledeedee and tweedledeedum came back with their one tail between their paired legs.