Thursday, October 16, 2008

Polish President Kaczynski gate-crashes at Brussels EU Summit

Poland was in the news at Brussels European Union Summit on Wednesday-Thursday (October 15-16) but for wrong reasons as the journalists waiting for press conferences (which were delayed as usual) were amused by Polish leaders doing their pranks abroad.

“Prime Minister Donald Tusk went to Brussels to defend important Polish interests while President Lech Kaczynski - as a troublemaker,” Polish media summed it all in one line.

There was serious discussion about future of capitalism at the emergency EU Summit while the former Communist regime of Poland was immersed in petty squabble of who will “officially” hijack “official aircraft” to Brussels.

Round one went to Premier Tusk as he commandeered the Government's sole available executive jet and then refused to let the aircraft fly back to Warsaw where President Kaczynski, the President, was waiting for a ride to Brussels.

Kaczynski, never easy to give up in his pursuits, chartered another aircraft, landed in Brussels but was aghast to find that the official chair was already occupied by arch-rival Tusk. Before the situation could boil down to fists in grand order, Jacek Rostowski, Polish finance minister, official occupant of second seat, acted in a gentleman way, giving his seat to the angry and tired President.

“We are gentlemen, we will not have a scuffle,” he said, conceding that the situation had become “serious and dangerous”.

Till last year, this was not a major issue as then the President's identical twin with near-identical conservative views, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was Prime Minister.

Finally came the blame game as Radoslaw Sikorski, Polish Foreign Minister called it an “unprecedented situation,” lamenting, “The President has made our task much more difficult as our partners now have no clarity about our position.”

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