Analysis

Is Warsaw the new London for Berlin?

24 Oct 2012
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Region: 
EU/Eurozone

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  • Like other non-Eurozone EU states, including the UK, Poland faces a fundamental problem of how to deal with potentially being sidelined in an EU increasingly dominated by Eurozone issues and in which Eurozone membership is the basic measure of influence. Yet there are a number of reasons to suspect that Poland will be more than a marginal player here.
  • First, Britain’s self-isolation after the December 2011 Summit leaves Berlin looking for a new counterbalance to French influence on Eurozone developments. Warsaw will not immediately replace the UK in this traditional role, and not in the same way. But the odds are that in time these three – Germany, France and Poland - will emerge as a key political triangle in Eurozone policymaking.
  • Second, Warsaw and Berlin – unlike Paris - share a basic view that further political and economic integration in the EU should be based on collective institutions. Berlin wants this to enforce fiscal discipline, Warsaw to protect the interests of smaller European states.  
  • Third, Poland knows that its existing commitment to join the Eurozone gives it leverage the UK does not have. Poland is effectively negotiating as if its Eurozone membership is inevitable, as a way of maximising its traction in debates on questions such as European Banking Union. The Poles have helped carve out the concept of a ‘pre-in’; a member state that requires privileged treatment in Eurozone structures because of its political commitment to the euro, even while it does not use it.

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