Poland threatens to block EU treaty in demand for more power

The Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, flew to Paris yesterday for talks that could decide the fate of the proposed new European Union "reform" treaty. The twin brothers who rule Poland are still haggling over the small print of the deal which they accepted at the Brussels summit in June.

It remains unclear whether this amounts to a genuine threat to the revised treaty or electoral brinkmanship. Poland has a parliamentary election three days after EU leaders are due to meet in Lisbon, on 18 October, to approve the treaty's final text, published in Brussels on Friday.

Mr Kaczynski will have talks today with the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who played a leading role in persuading Warsaw to accept the draft treaty in June. The Polish President will also have talks later in the week with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Warsaw has protested that the text produced by the Portuguese EU presidency does not include some important details of a late-night deal on voting rights, which prevented a collapse of the EU summit in June.

Instead of the old system of votes weighted vaguely according to a nation's size, it has now been agreed that majority decisions in the EU Council of Ministers should require approval by 55 per cent of states, representing 65 per cent of the EU's population.

Warsaw had initially protested that this gave too much weight to Germany, the EU's largest country. Jaroslow Kaczynski even complained that Germany was responsible for decimating the Polish population during the Second World War and should not be allowed to profit politically from its greater population.

Finally, the twins agreed that the new voting rules could apply from 2014 and that the Poles could insist on using the old system until 2017. They also won agreement to revive an old mechanism which allows one member state to delay a vote that it seems likely to lose.This delay mechanism was not included in the text published by Brussels last week.

Gordon Brown, meanwhile, facing a Commons debate on European reform on Wednesday, insisted yesterday that he too would block the new treaty if it does not meet Britain's so called "red lines".

British negotiators, however. indicated on Friday that they were happy with the text, which solidifies an opt-out promised to Britain on police and judicial co-operation. "It delivers our red lines on justice and home affairs. We will now read the treaty carefully to check that it contains all of our red lines in full," said one high-ranking official.

EU leaders will be relieved that the Prime Minister's decision to rule out an early election means he is less vulnerable to political pressure for a referendum on the treaty. The Conservatives, who say the new treaty is 90 per cent the same as the text rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, UKIP and some Labour MPs argue that a referendum is needed.

Of the 27 EU nations only Ireland is compelled by its constitution to hold a referendum before it can ratify the new treaty.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a dynamic En...

SAP Data Migration Lead

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Experienced Lead SAP Data Manager Requir...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform