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Poland, EU leaders disagree over landmark EU reform deal

[JURIST] Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski [official profile] vowed Friday to reopen debate on the EU Council of Minister's voting mechanisms, insisting on a different interpretation of the EU reform agreement [JURIST report] reached last Saturday by EU leaders. Kaczynski, who has previously threatened to veto any proposed treaty [JURIST report] unless Poland retained more power in the voting scheme, says that Poland agreed to a mechanism that would delay controversial EU decisions from being addressed for a period of two years if opposition member states fall just short of blocking the proposal. EU officials and other member state leaders offer a different interpretation, saying that the agreement was to delay controversial proposals until the next EU summit, which would be a period of three to four months.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso [official website] said that while minor adjustments can be made to the agreement, modifications cannot contradict the unanimous agreement among the 27 member states. European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering [official website] criticized Kaczynski's interpretation as "totally contradictory" to the agreement and therefore "unacceptable." Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates downplayed the disagreement as a "misunderstanding" that could be resolved at the Inter-Governmental Conference scheduled to begin on July 23. The disagreement between Poland and other EU members is the latest difficulty in the EU's efforts to approve a cut-down version of the stalled European constitution [JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more.

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