Poland Begins EU Presidency

Posted June 30th, 2011 at 9:25 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Poland is taking over the European Union rotating presidency from Hungary as Europe struggles with the debt crisis in Greece and other member nations.

Poland's six-month mandate began Friday — its first since the eastern European nation joined the bloc in 2004.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk hosts EU leaders at an inaugural ceremony in Warsaw on Friday.

Poland has achieved strong economic growth since becoming an EU member. The once communist country also has managed to avoid recession in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Warsaw will preside over difficult negotiations on the bloc's new economic governance rules and its next long-term budget.

But as a nation that does not use the common European currency, Poland will not influence decisions on how to stabilize the euro.

Analysts say the EU presidency is an opportunity for Mr. Tusk's centrist government to reinforce its international credentials ahead of Polish elections in October.

The EU's rotating presidency has a diminished role since former Belgian prime minister Herman van Rompuy became long-term president of the European Council last year, and British lawmaker Catherine Ashton took charge of the bloc's foreign affairs.

Hungary's EU presidency, which ended Thursday, was dogged by criticism of the country's restrictive media laws. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Hungarian leaders during her visit to Budapest Thursday to ensure media and other democratic freedoms.