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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » December 21, 2011
Politics & Society
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Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski talks to The Warsaw Voice
December 21, 2011   
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Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski talks to The Warsaw Voice

Was your vision of a new EU a contribution to an ongoing debate or a closed-case package of proposals?
It was my contribution to what today is the most important debate in Europe. The debate is focused on two questions: first, how to prevent the common currency and thus the EU economy from collapsing; and second, how to repair the mechanisms of EU governance in the long run. The EU today is in gridlock, adrift.

In reference to the first question, I presented the stance of the Polish government and as to the second, those were my own views. What gives me the most satisfaction is that these have become part of the European debate and, in Poland, they stirred up—at long last—a debate on the future of the EU and Poland’s role in it.

Is Poland’s entitled to come up with such a bold proposal?
Poland is a large, serious and ambitious EU member state. We have to stop seeing ourselves as the periphery of Europe or as a “new EU country.” We are entitled to contribute to the shape of Europe and make our mark on it. To show, for example, that tough and painful economic reforms can be successful, because that is our experience from the 1990s. Besides, here in the Foreign Ministry and in other ministries as well, we have gained a lot of experience during the Polish presidency of the EU. And that further entitles us to present our ideas to the entire EU. Especially because in other capitals, the Polish presidency is widely regarded not only as efficient, but also as ambitious, serious and full of ideas.

What exactly did you hope to achieve for Poland in putting forward your proposals?
First, it is vital for Poland that the common currency and the EU in general survives and develops. At present, over 77 percent of Poland’s exports go to EU member states, including 54 percent to members of the eurozone. Everything that happens in the eurozone has an impact on the Polish economy and on the daily lives of Polish citizens. Let us hope it does not happen, but should the eurozone or the entire EU disintegrate, that would spell catastrophe for thousands of Polish companies and for millions of Poles.

Second, it is in Poland’s interests to have as much say in the EU decision-making process as possible. It’s high time we stopped feeling embarrassed about having such aspirations and stopped trying to conceal them. But we will only be able to have our say to the extent we want if we are there at the hub of EU decision-making—and not at the periphery, which is where the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party and its offshoots want us to be.
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