High engagement of French diplomacy, Czech Presidency as bench mark for Polish Presidency

Foundation for European Studies - European Institute
Assessment of French Presidency
As regards to the key priorities for the presidency formulated by France, including the Climate and Energy Package and the finalization of the Lisbon Treaty ratification, the general assessment of the presidency is that “the Presidency was difficult for France and very good for Poland”[1]. What has been stressed is the deep involvement of France in actions taken in the interest of the whole European Union, a reasonable balance between an intergovernmental and a community approach. An important feature of the passed presidency was also the ability to work out compromise between the diversified interests of member states in a way that took into consideration the positions of individual member states.
Even if not all the objectives of the presidency were achieved, yet – as stressed by Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, the Secretary of State at the Office of the Committee for European Integration (UKIE) – the presidency “has to face two major emergencies (war in Georgia and the economic crisis)”[2], which as if naturally become two major issues the Union should have reacted to. Especially with regard to the Georgian conflict – in the opinion of Dowgielewicz – “President Sarkozy has a very difficult situation and what he did to secure Georgian independence on the one hand and to keep the Union speaking with one voice on the other hand has to be highly appreciated”[3].
Yet an EU expert, Pawel Swieboda, noted that the role of Sarkozy in the Georgian conflict turned out to be “most ambiguous”. “Even if he managed to exclude the worst scenario, but the concessions to Russia as regards Georgia’s territorial integrity went too far” [4].
What is being stressed in the assessment of the French Presidency is also the role of President Sarkozy in reaching settlement regarding the Climate and Energy Package. The current issues made the presidency take instant, unplanned actions, yet still, the presidency was able to deal with one of the most important priorities and reach a compromise, which should be seen as a real success.[5]
Thus, the general assessment of the French Presidency in Poland is positive; it has been stressed that the success of the presidency was also driven by professional skills and deep involvement of the French diplomacy.[6]
Czech Presidency
When the Czech Republic took over the EU-presidency, the Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, announced that Poland will support the Czech Republic as the first new Central-European member state to preside in the EU. The Prime Minister declared his conviction that the Czech Republic will be independent in actual management of the Presidency. In such areas as liberalization, independence of economic entities or decreasing bureaucratic regulations, the Czech Presidency can count on the full support of Poland.[7]
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radoslaw Sikorski, “the states of our region – both on the level of prime ministers and ministers of foreign affairs – are quite well prepared for Czech Presidency”.[8] To this end, meetings within the Visegrad Group were very fruitful, especially with regard to the question of the establishment of the Eastern Partnership.
The Head of the Office of the Committee for European Integration (UKIE), Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, stressed that an important question to tackle by the Czech Presidency will be the diversification of energy supply and in this respect, Poland has already been cooperating closely with the presidency.[9]
Another key interest for the presidency – in the opinion of the head of UKIE – will be the review of the issues relating to furthering liberalization of labour markets.[10]
Poland will see to able running the Presidency by the Czechs and will use the experiences from the Czech Presidency as useful clues for the future Polish Presidency.

[1] M. Dowgielewicz, “Prezydencja Francji bardzo dobra dla Polski” [French Presidency very good for Poland], Polish Press Agency, 30 December 2008, available at: (last access: 25 January 2009).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] P. Swieboda, “Przewodnictwo Francji w UE adekwatne na trudne czasy” [French Presidency “adequate for difficult times”, Polish Press Agency, 30 December 2008, available at: (last access: 25 January 2009).

[5] R. Trzaskowski, “Francuzom udał się prezydencja w UE” [The French successful in EU Presidency], Polish Press Agency, 30 December 2008, available at: (last access: 25 January 2009).

[6] M. Dowgielewicz, op. cit.

[7] Premier: “Będziemy wspierać Czechy w ich prezydencji”, [Prime Minister, “We will support the Czechs in their Presidency”], Polish Press Agency, 23 December 2008, available at: (last access: 25 January 2009).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] M. Dowigielewicz quoted by Polish Press Agency, 23 December 2008, available at: (last access: 25 January 2009).