EU leaders have finally reached a deal to reform the constitutional treaty to overhaul the 27-nation bloc. The agreement only came after Poland was persuaded to end a stand-off that nearly saw the Brussels summit end in failure. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, struggled to break Polish opposition to the treaty which Warsaw complained would cut its voting power.
But a compromise was struck after she threatened to launch negotiations without Poland’s consent. “I am sure it can be subject to some criticism but what counts for me, what counts for us is that we are moving out of stoppage, out of reflection, we have began to create the conditions for a new treaty,” Merkel said.
After weeks of resistance, Poland accepted a compromise on voting rights in exchange for their introduction in 2017. Warsaw was also offered pledges of solidarity by the rest of the bloc in the event of future energy crises, a big concern for President Lech Kaczynski as Poland is heavily dependent on Russian gas imports.
Welcoming the agreement he said: “I’m not only very happy with the results but also with the cooperation among member states. There is always the need to reach a compromise and this was the case right up until the last moment.” But Kaczynski was unapologetic over comments that Poland deserved compensation for its suffering in World War II – words which are understood to have offended many EU leaders and privately infuriated Merkel.