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Komorowski seeks greater EU involvement for Poland

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Komorowski seeks greater EU involvement for Poland

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Bronislaw Komorowski was recently elected president of Poland. He comes into the job in the wake of president Lech Kaczinsky’s death in a plane crash. In his first interview with an international TV channel since his election, he spells out his foreign policy goals to euronews.

Sergio Cantone, euronews:
Mr President, welcome to euronews. What are the most relevant challenges you have to take on after the tragic death of your predecessor, Lech Kaczinsky?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
Poland is in a very difficult period, a crisis linked to the catastrophe near Smolensk in which the President died, as did many high ranking officials from Poland, including the director of the national bank, government ministers and members of the army high command.

Above all the challenge now is Poland’s integration with the European Union. And Poland will do what is necessary to deepen ties by strengthening foreign policy, working on a common energy policy and as soon as possible on the construction of a genuinely shared policy on security and defence.

euronews:
You seem to share the political visions of the current government. That was not the case with your predecessor, President Kaczinski. How do you think that will change the Polish approach vis-à-vis the EU?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
Our opinions and objectives haven’t changed. What have changed are the circumstances. They permit the Polish state today to have a foreign policy that’s in phase with the European Union.

euronews:
Do you think that the influence of Poland within the EU is likely to increase?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
Every European Union member should have this ambition and aim to play as big a role as possible in this collective project which is European integration. We too have this ambition. But as well as having ambition, it’s also important to have convincing arguments, which we do.

Poland works hard at being a good member of the Union. We do everything to deepen the process of European integration. And we do this with practical measures: even without being in the euro zone, Poland has declared itself ready to participate in the resolution of financial problems linked to the crisis. A crisis that’s been provoked, if I can put it like this, by the countries of the Euro zone. We believe that we need to look at this in a pragmatic way, since this is what people expect of us. Poland seeks European solidarity notably by the deepening of the integration process and among other things by the deepening of the principle of solidarity between nations.

euronews:
Is Polish foreign policy shifting from a sort of cold war scenario with Russia to one aiming at cooperate more with Moscow?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
To put it another way, rooting Poland deeply in the Union is an essential pre-requisite for treating the issues that surround relations between Poland and Russia. And this is a supplementary strength for Poland as a member of the Union. And we’re putting a lot of hope in it. Poland is investing in closer ties with Russia.

euronews:
What about the North stream pipeline which was a very important issue for both Russia and Germany and a big problem for Poland?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
The building of a more expensive gas pipeline via the Baltic which bypasses Polish territory is the fruit of a decision that was taken too rapidly several years ago. That decision couldn’t be altered, even by the present day German authorities. We have taken note, I have already said that. We don’t understand the calculation behind it, but we are convinced that today we have a very good opportunity to establish closer ties between Germany and Poland and we want to take advantage of this opportunity, without concentrating too heavily on the Baltic gas pipeline. It’s become a given: people didn’t want it to pass through Poland, and that’s become an established fact because of a decision that was taken previously by the Russian and German authorities. And it seems to me that in the current climate such a decision would not have been taken.

euronews:
Is Poland going to push forward the proposal to create a visa free area between the EU and the Russian Kaliningrad region?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
That will happen and that’s in the interest of Poland, Russia and all of Europe. It’s a practical step, a practical measure that will lead as well to reconciliation and collaboration with Russia. That should interest not just Poland but all the European Union. We will work to introduce practical measures to make this happen. And what would be of practical use is visa free frontier zone for the Kaliningrad enclave.

euronews:
When do you think your country will be ready to join the Euro area?

Bronislaw Komorowski, Polish President:
Here we are not in a rush to take a decision. Poland is independent concerning the Eurozone situation. We will enter in due course, but we need of course to chose the right moment and be prepared. That concerns as much the Polish state as what happens within the Euro zone. Already without being in the euro zone we are ready to contribute to the resolution of the problems concerning the euro zone. On the other hand, Poland is not in favour of and will never support a structure of internal government for the Union that’s limited to countries within the euro zone. That’s a fundamental conviction, just as is our commitment to strengthening European integration.