Polish president Lech Kaczynski has said he will not sign the EU's Lisbon Treaty, saying it was pointless after Irish voters rejected it in a referendum last month.
"For the moment, the question of the treaty is pointless," Mr Kaczynski was quoted as saying in the online version of the daily Dziennik.
The Polish parliament voted in April to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, a key reform treaty meant to streamline EU decision-making, but it needs the signature of the president to become definitive.
Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum held on June 12th, putting EU reform plans in jeopardy as it needs to be ratified by all 27 EU member states to enter into force.
Mr Kaczynksi's refusal to ratify the treaty is a serious blow to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has set himself the task with finding a way of overcoming the Irish rejection of the treaty as France takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency today.
The French EU presidency's "first priority is to find a way to contain the problem to the Irish," Mr Sarkozy said in television interview last night, adding that EU countries must continue ratifying the key charter. He set a June 2009 deadline for resolving Ireland's rejection of the treaty.
Alluding to his scheduled visit to Dublin on July 11th, Mr Sarkozy said: "I will go there to try to understand with them what we can do to sort out the situation. We mustn't hurry. At the same time, we don't have much time. What is the deadline? June 2009, because there are European elections."
The Czech Republic will also likely pose a problem for Mr Sarkozy with many lawmakers in the centre-right ruling coalition cool the treaty, starting with eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus.
"It is difficult to say how all this will end. But on the other hand, to say that without the treaty there won't be a Union is not serious," said Mr Kaczynski.
He noted the same argument was made by proponents of the EU constitution after French and Dutch voters rejected it in 2005.
"The Union nevertheless functioned, it is functioning and will continue to function," said the Polish president. "Certainly it isn't ideal, but a structure this complicated couldn't be ideal."
Mr Kaczynski warned EU leaders against trying to isolate or pressure Ireland. "If one breaks the rule of unanimity one time, it will never exist again. We're not strong enough for this type of solution," he said.
At summit in Brussels last month EU leaders insisted the ratification process would continue, but agreed to an Irish request to delay trying to find a way to overcome its "no" vote until the next summit in October.
© 2008 ireland.com
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