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Home » Focus, polish presidency

The Polish Presidency: priorities and challenges

Submitted by on 14 Apr 2011 – 14:53

Radosław Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

As the holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Poland’s primary objective will be to maintain economic growth in Europe. It was the idea that economic cooperation would guarantee peace on the conflict-ridden European continent that launched the ECSE six decades ago. We want to see economic considerations once again become the driving force behind European integration.

As the holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Poland’s primary objective will be to maintain economic growth in Europe. It was the idea that economic cooperation would guarantee peace on the conflict-ridden European continent that launched the ECSE six decades ago. We want to see economic considerations once again become the driving force behind European integration.

Europe must overcome the current crisis to remain competitive. To do so, we must not only repay our debts, but also develop our strategies for growth. Polish priorities include deepening and widening the single European market, promoting investment policies in the next multiannual financial framework, and boosting our intellectual capital.

The Polish Presidency’s second area of interest will be European security. We intend to bolster the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy. But security is a broad concept, and covers much more than military concerns. Border management, the protection of critical infrastructure, cyber security, civil protection, the diversification of energy supply – these are just a few of the many issues that have yet to be properly addressed by the European Union.

Finally, we will focus on EU external actions. Europe depends heavily on its relations with third countries, as has been amply illustrated in recent years by the recurring gas supply crises, or more recently by the impact of the turmoil in North Africa on EU markets.

The ongoing events in the Mediterranean have moved Poland to contribute to the European aid effort for the region. However, new challenges must not be allowed to eclipse unfinished business. Eastern Europe will remain at the forefront of Poland’s thinking during the Presidency. The Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw this Autumn will aim to improve the EU’s offer to its Eastern partners.

Another piece of unfinished business is the enlargement agenda. We would like to see Croatia’s accession negotiations finalised, and Turkey and Iceland’s stepped up. Externally, Poland will support efforts to conclude the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.

The ultimate goal of the Polish Presidency is building a strong European Union. One that is ready to face the challenges ahead. The majority of Poles remain euro-enthusiasts – for us, the EU represents the aspirations that have guided us over the twenty-odd years we have been building the modern Polish state.

It is with similar enthusiasm that we approach our upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. After all, to quote the great Scottish writer and reformer Samuel Smiles: enthusiasm is the “sustaining power of all great action.”