Poland 'Loses' Georgia In EU Diplomatic Race

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Poland appears to have changed its policy of unconditional support for Georgia against Russian intimidation, a recent interview given by the country's president suggests. Warsaw has also reportedly abandoned hope of securing the position of EU Ambassador to Tbilisi, the Polish press reports.

Poland appears to have changed its policy of unconditional support for Georgia against Russian intimidation, a recent interview given by the country's president suggests. Warsaw has also reportedly abandoned hope of securing the position of EU Ambassador to Tbilisi, the Polish press reports.

Asked about relations between Warsaw and Tbilisi in a recent interview with daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Polish President Bronisław Komorowski stated that Georgia could not count on him as much as it did on his predecessor, Lech Kaczyński.

"I won't go abroad just because the president of Georgia wants me to," Komorowski is quoted as saying.

With obvious satisfaction, the Russian press carried headlines such as 'Poland refuses to be friendly with Georgia any longer' and 'The president of Poland has put Georgia in its place'.
 

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"The resetting of relations on the Warsaw-Tbilisi line practically leaves [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili with no room for manoeuvre," Russian commentator Maksim Jushin writes in Izvestiya, adding that Russia had now become a "key partner" for Poland.

Speaking to Rzeczpospolita, the head of the Liberty Institute in Tbilisi, Levan Ramishvili, admitted that relations may cool but won't change dramatically.
 

 
Warsaw loses ambassador post to Sofia?

The Polish press also reports that Warsaw is unlikely to obtain the post of EU ambassador to Tbilisi.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton is currently recruiting for more than 30 vacant posts as EU ambassadors.

Gazeta Prawna quotes yesterday (26 August) Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a former Polish Foreign Minister and a heavyweight in the European Parliament, as saying that a Bulgarian national stands a much better chance of getting the post in Tbilisi.

The Polish newspaper deplores the fact that a few weeks ago, Warsaw was equally unsuccessful in trying to place a Pole as head of the EU's representation in Kabul. Poland has 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan.

The candidate for the head of the EU's delegation in Afghanistan was Andrzej Ananicz, a former head of the Polish Intelligence Agency and current head of the Diplomatic Academy of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was overlooked in favour of Lithuanian Vygaudas Uszackas, despite his better linguistic qualifications.
 
 
Geographic imbalance
 
Artur Harazim, director of the European policy department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that a recent report by the Polish Institute of International Affairs, which reveals that Poles are strikingly under-represented in EU diplomacy, is correct in its assertions.

Despite being the sixth-largest EU member state in terms of population, there is not a single Pole among the 115 ambassadors of the European Commission diplomatic corps around the world, the report reveals.

It also shows that only two of the new ambassadors (one from Lithuania and one from Hungary) selected to represent the EU come from the so-called '12 new' member states which joined the Union in 2004 and 2007.

Poland is still fighting for the post of deputy head of the European External Action Service, reportedly to be taken by Poland's European Affairs Minister Mikołaj Dowgielewicz. It could also be claimed that the entire atmosphere of Poland's under-representation has been orchestrated to help secure this top job.
 
 
Bulgaria has two candidates

 
It is possible that the EU Ambassador to Georgia will be a Bulgarian, the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Dimitrov said recently on national radio. In his words, both Bulgarian candidates, Filip Dimitrov and Stefan Tafrov, have successfully passed the selection process. The final word was expected to come from Ashton, the official explained.

Strange as it may seen, Bulgaria has two candidates for the Tbilisi job and both appear to enjoy the support of the government in Sofia, which doesn't make things any easier for Ashton.

Filip Dimitrov is a centre-right politician and former prime minister. Elected PM in 1991, he only remained in office for a few months, because with no apparent reason he called a vote of confidence, which he lost. Later, he served as his country's ambassador to the UN and to the US.

Stefan Tafrov is also a centre-right politician and has served as his country's ambassador to France, Italy and the UK.
 
 
Eurasia Review
 
 
01.09.2010