Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Some thoughts on the eve of the Polish EU Presidency
On July 1 Poland takes over the EU Presidency for a 6 month period. One has to wish them luck, although even a "succesful" EU Presidency will not be more than a touch up job in order to keep a rotten ship afloat for a while longer.
It is as such not suprising that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and a number of other Polish decision makers are now praising the European Union as the main reason for the excellent ecomic growth the country has enjoyed for several years now. If you are a member of a club, you are supposed to sing its praise once in a while, and particularly if its your turn to be at "the helm".
But the truth is, that Poland has had good economic growth despite of the European Union, not because of it.
It is likely that the Polish growth would have been even faster, if the country would have opted for a close co-operation in the form e.g. of a free trade area with the EU, instead of membership.
In the next 10-15 years Poland could, according to its Foreign Minister, become the "new Norway" in Europe (thanks to shale gas). And, if the European Union does not prevent it through prohibitive regulation (this a real danger that the Poles must stave off at all costs!), the chances that this will actually happen, are excellent. Norway, of course, has not felt any need to join the "club", although they enjoy a very good co-operation with the EU. Non-membership offers Norway - and e.g. Switzerland - much better opportunities to shape its future, without the costly, bureaucratic and undemocratic EU straightjacket. This would be a much better solution for Poland, too. As the unraveling of the present EU continues, despite futile attempts to keep the already almost dead euro patient alive, Poland may actually have a good opportunity for real independence in the not too distant future.