Special Reports / Polish presidency, or how to explain Europe to the Europeans?

Polish presidency, or how to explain Europe to the Europeans?

Kultura Liberalna · 25 July 2011

Dear Readers,

“Kultura Liberalna” is proud to present you with the first Anglo-Polish issue of our magazine, devoted to the Polish presidency in the European Union. Although it has already been three weeks from the time government in Warsaw took over this position we still don’t know how the Polish authorities will cope with the challenges brought by it and how they will try to make the most of the opportunities it offers.

In our pages we present four answers to these questions. All our authors emphasize that after the reforms introduced by the Lisbon Treaty the significance of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union has been largely diminished and we should not expect any revolutionary plans to reorganize the EU being proposed by the Polish government. The reforms introduced in Lisbon do not, however, mean that the next six month of presidency may be treated half-heartedly. This is a time that should bring Warsaw real benefits – the question is what are these benefits and which of them should be considered a priority.

British journalist of “The Economist”, Edward Lucas, claims that the presidency is a great chance to put Poland in the spotlight and thus underline the economic progress it has made over the years. This aspect of presidency is often considered trivial and therefore marginalized which Lucas regards to be a mistake.

Also according to Konstanty Gebert, Polish journalist and future chairman of the Polish office of European Council on Foreign Relations, a successful presidency – that is calm, professional and objective – may improve the image of Poland. Unlike Lucas, however, Gebert claims that this improvement should affect primarily… the Poles themselves. Furthermore, the author maintains that looking at the European Union from the Polish perspective may render all the advantages EU has brought to its members more clearly visible.

Łukasz Pawłowski from “Kultura Liberalna” considers the task of reminding Europeans the point of their membership in the EU to be the main challenge for the Polish presidency. Due to the history of the last two decades Poland may contribute to rebuilding if not the enthusiasm for the common Europe, then at least the faith in its sense. To achieve that Polish government must temporarily abandon the temptation to make use of the presidency in taking care of Polish particular interests and present Polish administration as capable of handling all-European affairs.

In the last article, former Member of the European Parliament, Józef Pinior, emphasizes however that although the duties of the country running the presidency are performed mainly on the level of European institutions, currently, in the difficult situation in which Europe is, we should not forget to pay attention to the social moods in particular member states. According to Pinior “the most interesting things in the months to come will take place not so much on the governmental level but rather on the streets of European cities”.

Enjoy the reading!

Editorial Team


Concept of the Subject of the Week: Łukasz Pawłowski.
Cooperation: Robert Tomaszewski.
Picture: Wojciech Tubaja.