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New Poland PM pledges to opt out of EU rights charter

[JURIST] New Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk [BBC profile] has told the Polish Parliament [official website] that his government will refuse to sign the European Charter of Fundamental Rights [European Parliament materials], part of the new EU Reform Treaty [JURIST news archive]. Tusk said the decision, which follows a similar statement made earlier this month [JURIST report] by the country's foreign minister, was taken out of respect for a deal negotiated by the previous conservative government led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who expressed concern over the charter's supposed liberal stance on "moral issues." The opt-out would remain, according to the Prime Minister, because he needed the support of the Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party [party website, in Polish] in order to reach the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to ratify the Reform Treaty as a whole. The United Kingdom has also said it will opt out [Sky report] of the new pan-European rights charter.

The Reform Treaty, essentially a cut-down version of the stalled European constitution [JURIST news archive], has generated much debate among EU members. EU leaders only reached agreement on the final text of the treaty [JURIST report] at a summit in Lisbon last month, working through last minute objections by Poland and Italy. BBC News has more.

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