I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of all Polish citizens on board of the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczyński and to the Polish people as a whole for their loss.
I would also like to extend my condolences to all the relatives of the 22 000 people killed in Katyn during the Russian occupation of Poland in 1940.
There is mounting pressure on the Czech President Vaclav Klaus to sign ratification papers for the Treaty of Lisbon. Klaus has argued that he cannot sign now due to the new pending appeal at the Czech Constitutional Court.
Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita says (via Euractiv) that the Czech Republic could receive an influential post in the new European Commission in exchange for President Klaus’s signature. Poland itself is expected to finalize ratification shortly.
In any case it seems unlikely that the ratification process will end before November, 1st.
The United States have decided not to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says a U.S. decision to shelve plans for a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland “is a positive step.”
This may well be true. Experts have long ago warned that missile defense is a highly political exercise with many technical challenges.
This leaves, however, the question about the US involvement in Eastern Europe open. Not long ago a group of intellectuals and former political leaders from Eastern Europe warned that Russia’s creeping intimidation and influence-peddling could over time lead to a de facto neutralization of the region.
We know that the US currently considers Russia an important partner, but also serious threat for US interests. We also know that there are expert calls for intensified US consultations with Russia as yet another European state.
This leaves the European Union in a precarious position of diverging interests and bilateral agreements. Yet some experts say that a focused and engaged neighbourhood policy is the most important tool for protecting EU interests. This resonates with the claim that the US will confront Moscow over its attempts to create a ‘sphere of influence’ in Eastern Europe.
The European Commission has proposed to the Council to define deadlines for the correction of the excessive deficit for Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Romania. The Commission also recommends setting a new deadline for the correction of the deficit in Hungary.
This is really interesting. EUobserver reports that journalists from Polish TV station TVP and daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita say they have obtained new evidence that Poland ran a secret CIA prison used for extra-judicial extradition of terrorism suspects.
I must remind the resolution of the European Parliament from February that said: “subsequent events have confirmed that several EU Member states had been involved in, or had cooperated actively or passively with the US authorities”.