End to national sovereignty? Polish deputy foreign minister advocates for abolishing unanimity rule in EU Council

The EU could be taking a step closer to federalization, with Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna backing removing the member state veto in foreign policy and other areas

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: rp.pl
via: rp.pl

In an interview with the newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna spoke in favor of abolishing the unanimity rule in the European Union Council on foreign policy issues. Szejna addressed the “particular controversies” raised by Germany’s proposal to eliminate the veto power in the EU Council on foreign affairs, expressing support for the German initiative.

He argued that the EU must be able to respond to challenges related to the formation of a new international order without being paralyzed by the stance of a single country, citing the recent example of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s obstruction in matters concerning Ukraine.

Referring to former European Commission President Jacques Delors, Szejna argued that “the Union will not develop if it does not respect the identity of its member countries.”

However, he noted that some decisions, such as the admission of new states to the EU, must still be made unanimously. He expressed reservations about this principle when it comes to foreign policy, suggesting that in light of the war in Ukraine and conflicts in the Middle East, a hasty decision should be avoided in favor of a broad discussion within the framework of existing treaties.

On the topic of Ukraine’s accession to the EU, Szejna pointed out that the main obstacles are the ongoing war and economic issues, not the political system of the EU itself. He announced that the government would negotiate these matters “firmly, yet constructively and amicably.” He also referred to a statement by the head of his ministry, Radosław Sikorski, who told CNN that Poland and the West’s current main task is to provide as much assistance to Ukraine as possible.

When asked about the definition of victory in the conflict with Russia, Szejna replied, “What victory is, will be defined by the Ukrainians themselves. We have no right to impose anything on them. However, we must support them as long as necessary. This is in our vital interest.”

The proposal to eliminate veto powers by individual national states in successive decisions of the EU bodies signifies a step towards its federalization and undermines the autonomy of these states. The previous Polish government was staunchly against removing this veto power, but the new government, seen as friendly to Brussels, is expected to support EU-wide federalization.

Germany has publicly argued that greater federalization of the EU is a necessary condition for admitting new states. In 2022, Ukraine and Moldova officially obtained candidate status for EU membership.

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