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Europe

Polish Political Situation Could Affect Constitution Talks

A vote of no confidence on May 14 for Marek Belka, the Polish prime minister-designate, could have strong implications for the on-going negotiations on the EU Constitution.

The vote of no-confidence for Marek Belka, Poland's prime minister-designate, leaves the new EU member in a political crisis just as the discussions on the Constitution blueprint enter the final stretch. The country may hold general elections in early August which throws into question the political legitimacy of the current government to negotiate on behalf of its people. A senior Irish diplomat conceded on Friday that this was an issue but said, "we continue to be optimistic."
The diplomat added that the Polish government had been very helpful in assuring the Irish Presidency of its willingness to have a successful conclusion to the negotiations which started up again on Monday after being postponed late last year.

The no-confidence vote was triggered after former Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller stepped down on May 2. Meanwhile, Poland's populist opposition self-defense party, Samoobrona, wants to push for a reworking of its accession treaty with the EU. The leader of the party, Andrzej Lepper, told Financial Times Deutschland that "we want to renegotiate so we can fully use our production capacities in agriculture and industry." The party, which is leading in the polls, wants to push this policy at the European level if they get seats in the European Parliament. "National interests come first," said Lepper, adding that it is for this reason that milk quotas and steel production have to be renegotiated. "Our euro-parliamentarians will raise this question in every plenary in Strasbourg," he said. (EUobserver.com)

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