Skip to comments.Poland Lashes Out at France; "What Gaul!"
Posted on 03/18/2003 4:06:33 AM PST by dmcg_98
What Gaul! 27 February 2003
The French President's words in Brussels have caused the most serious friction for years in Paris-Warsaw relations and the largest eruption of anti-French comments in Poland.
At a press conference following the European Union's extraordinary summit devoted to the Iraq crisis Feb. 17, Jacques Chirac criticized the pro-American policy pursued by Central European EU candidate countries. "They lost a good opportunity to be quiet... they acted somewhat recklessly, did not demonstrate good manners... their behavior was infantile," said Chirac, adding that this might obstruct the ratification of the Accession Treaty, as "European public opinion" in the countries of the Fifteen looks askance at this kind of policy.
Delegations from the countries attacked by Chirac were not present at the summit in Brussels, as France and Germany did not agree to invite EU candidate states, despite proposals put forward by, among others, Great Britain and Spain. The criticism voiced by Chirac was caused first of all by the "Letter of Eight," signed Jan. 29 by prime ministers of the following five EU countries: Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain and Italy, and of three EU candidate countries: Poland, Slovakia and Hungary; one day later, the letter was also signed by retiring Czech President Vaclav Havel. The letter, a declaration of solidarity with Washington's policy, triggered many sharply critical comments both in France and Germany. "When you are in the family, you have more rights," said Chirac, when the fact was brought to his attention that the heads of governments of five EU countries also signed the letter. On the following day in Warsaw, French Defense Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie used the same rhetoric, comparing the candidate countries to a "daughter-in-law, only about to enter the family."
"In Europe, there are no better ones and worse ones; there are no children, or states too immature for partnership," said Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs W³odzimierz Cimoszewicz in Brussels Feb. 18, stressing that the idea of certain countries having more of a say is unacceptable.
Cimoszewicz's response was one of the mildest of those provoked in Poland. A majority of politicians and commentators reserved much sharper criticism for Chirac. The French president's earlier controversial statements were cited, including from Moscow last year, when Chirac, without prior consultation with any of the states concerned, reassured President Vladimir Putin that in the future the newly admitted EU member countries-or Poland and Lithuania-would not introduce visas for Russian citizens living in Kaliningrad district. It was also remembered that France was partly responsible for the Polish state finding itself in the Soviet camp for half a century in the wake of World War II. Charles de Gaulle was the first among the leaders of Western superpowers to officially recognize Boles³aw Bierut's Moscow-installed government, thus substantially helping Joseph Stalin in his political objective vis-á-vis Poland.
"France is not a pacifist country... it loves war-provided it is the country that is heading it," said Marek Siwiec, the head of presidential National Security Office (BBN), commenting on Paris's stance on the Iraq crisis.
Voicing their feelings concerning Chirac's threats over Poland's accession to the EU, both Polish Chief Negotiator Jan Truszczyñski and Minister for European Integration Danuta Hübner reacted calmly, expressing the hope that these words were effected by emotion. Hübner also pointed out that the content of the "Letter of Eight" did not conflict with the decisions made earlier in Brussels in discussions over EU foreign policy.
Politicians from other countries aspiring to the EU also voiced their criticism of Chirac. Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, a signatory of the "Letter of Eight," said that his country was fully entitled to participate in formulating a common European policy. Deputy Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Lubomir Ivanov said that Chirac's words were yet another form of pressure exerted on Central European countries by Paris. Romania's President Ion Iliescu described Chirac's words as "completely out of line."
Some Western European politicians described Chirac's behavior in an unambiguously critical manner. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had earlier strove in vain to invite representatives of EU candidate countries to the Brussels summit, said that endeavoring to deprive any state of its voice is a serious political mistake. European Parliament President Pat Cox shared Blair's opinion. Chirac's words were received most bluntly by Chris Patten, EU commissioner for external contacts, who said that "the European Union is no Warsaw Pact."
This is what I have been saying all along, Chiaq has been patronizing thugs and has treated the US as a child. You do not treat any nation as if it were a child, even Iraq itself. You first of all show due respect. The French are positively inhumane and into sub race and subpeople mode.
Thinking people of the world know this is false. He has been in bed with Hussein since the 70's.
Exactly. That's just what they did in both world wars. I'm glad the world is recognizing this fact.
Solidarnosc Indeed! Polish courage in Gdansk is what pushed the teetering edifice of Soviet Empire into collapse.
Coward and idiot.
At least Poland put up a real fight when the Nazis invaded their country.