Thursday, April 03, 2008

That's the seventh one down

To nobody’s particular surprise the Polish Senate as well as the Lower House, the Sejm, has voted the Constitutional Reform Lisbon Treaty through with a 74 to 17 vote with 6 abstentions. Commission President Barroso and the Slovenian Presidency welcomed this display of European solidarity on the part of Polish politicians.

It would appear from this report in the Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza that there was a certain amount unfriendly discussion before the vote went through.
Seventy four senators cast their votes for the treaty - the Civic Platform (PO), the non-affiliated post-communist Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, and 15 Law and Justice (PiS) senators, including deputy Senate speaker Zbigniew Romaszewski. However, there was a split in the PiS caucus, with 17 senators voting against and five abstaining (as did the non-affiliated Lucjan Cichosz).
The Law and Justice Party is that of President Lech Kaczynski, the one remaining comedian on the Polish political scene, who was there in Lisbon and negotiated, if that is what the process to be called, for Poland.

As the various negotiations between the politicians went on, some of the PiS representatives became emotional, calling on Poland’s history to give them strength:
And though no voting discipline was introduced in the caucus, following Mr Romaszewski's declaration the Prime Minister, reassured, left the Senate. And a group of clearly relaxed PO senators went for lunch to the Senate canteen. 'This means that all the votes in the PiS caucus have been counted and at least the PiS Senate committee leaders will vote yes', one of the PO senators explained to the members of the press.

During the same time, the treaty's opponents stepped forward, though they spoke without much conviction. 'This will be a new partition of Poland. The Lisbon treaty establishes a new state called the European Union and Poland will be but an administrative unit in it!' warned Ryszard Bender. At the same time, the PiS eurosceptics were obviously trying not to attack President Lech
Kaczyński who had negotiated the treaty. 'Our dear President fought bravely in Brussels as the real son of the Polish knights from Grunwald, Chocim and Vienna. But there's no certainty that the safeguards he's negotiated will work. It is not always that Poland will be governed by patriots who have God, the fatherland and honour in their hearts', said Janina Fetlińska.
It is at times like this and reading bilge of this kind that I begin to doubt my own certainty that history must be learnt at school. Not if it means that politicians produce unilluminating parallels that hide reality.

Still, an important victory was won, though it has not been widely reported. As reports, a proviso was added that the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is an integral part of the treaty, will be implemented without the rights it grants to gays and lesbians. On the whole, it seems unlikely that provisos like that, negotiated by the Prime Minister and the opposition are worth anything once you are implementing European legislation.

Ah well, we warned them.

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