There will be no European Constitution. At least for now. Italian Premier, Silvio Berlusconi was unable to obtain the compromise from all 25 countries (15 old members and 10 new members). In Brussels summit, 12-15 December, 2003 - Poland and Spain on one site and Germany and France on the other - were unable to compromise on voting power. Poland and Spain were insisting to preserve a voting system from Nice which was giving them 27 votes whereas France and Germany had 29 votes. France and Germany wanted to change it so that it would reflect the amount of population in these countries better. Poles were also insisting on mentioning Christian heritage of Europe in the constitution.
The first Polish commentaries were talking about a victory since a voting system from Nice would be still preserved what Poland really wanted, but was it really a success? Poland's decision was not perceived well by majority of European countries. Poland and Spain were commonly accused of forcing their own national interests rather that trying to compromise in the name of broad European wellbeing. The Nice Treaty was assigning 27 votes to both, Poland and Spain as compared to Germany and France and it is a bit unrealistic. Both, Poland and Spain, each have about 40 millions people while Germany twice as much. I have to agree I was also a bit frustrated with the Polish politicians. It seems obvious that to obstain by Nice treaty was just a nonsense, but ... it this really so simple? But, this is not the whole picture of the European Union and their problems. There was a reason why Polish politicians were fighting so fiercely for preserving the old system. I will try to explain it in the following articles.
Below are fragments of the article from British Guardian entitled New boy Poland flexes its muscles which reflects quite well how Poland is seen in Europe in the present situation after Brussel and Union Copenhagen summits:
From the war zones of Iraq to the diplomatic battlefields of Brussels, one country is rapidly gaining a reputation for being the new bad boy on the European bloc.
It has been by far the toughest negotiating partner for Brussels in the long and complicated process to join the EU. It backed George Bush on Iraq with rhetoric and men on the ground, triggering bitter criticism in France and Germany. And it is Berlin's most diehard opponent at this weekend's EU summit on the constitutional overhaul of how power is wielded and decisions taken within the councils of Europe.
Five months before it is integrated into the club of western democracies, Poland is being cast by some of its new EU partners as a troublemaker.
Earlier this year the French told the Poles to shut up over Iraq, while the Germans have muttered about the Poles being America's Trojan horse inside the EU. In Brussels, the Poles are fed up with being told they are not "good Europeans". But of the 10 countries joining the EU in May, Poland is as big as the other nine combined, with all that that implies for markets, territory, the military, strategy, and, not least, being listened to.
Are the conditions of accession for Poland and other Eastern Europe countries the same as for the countries before us? No Western Europe is in a deep crisis. It is poorer than it was twenty years ago with high unemployment rate in its biggest countries. Therefore it is less willing to share its wealth with even poorer Eastern European countries. So there is a danger of dividing Europe into a better and worse category. Read more about it in an earlier article entitled EU & Poland: Risk of dividing Europe?
Even the conditions which we were promised during Union Copenhagen summit would be probably changed in a way which would benefit the old members rather than East European countries. Since a different budget is proposed - less money would be spent for poor regions (which should potentially benefit Eastern Europe) and more money would be spent for development of new technologies - which would benefit countries of Western Europe mainly. The budget would be modified for years 2007 and later - just when the countries of Eastern Europe were hoping to start benefiting from it. In a present time they receive just a fraction of subsidies (for instance for farming) compared with Western Europe.
The European Union: A Very Short Introduction by John Pinder
Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction, Second Edition by John McCormick