Donald Tusk, the prime minister of Poland, is an avowed europhile and as such is taking very seriously his country’s upcoming six-month presidency of the European Council. This contrasts with the country’s previous leadership and, for that matter, every other major European leader at the moment, that is, the current panoply of dour “austeritists” (led by Angela “Dame de plomb“ Merkel) and professional race-baiters (led by Nicolas “Too many Muslims” Sarkozy).
As such I was a little surprised with the Polish presidency’s new logo went for child-like euro-kitsch instead of the more sober and elegant look of the previous Spain-Belgium-Hungary trio.
The new logo has already kind of grown on me though. The flag recalls Solidarnosc – as good a reference as any to the historical agency and love of liberty of the great martyr-nation. The upwards arrows evoke an optimism sorely lacking in the rest of Europe and encapsulated in Hungary’s declinist constitution. Poland was incidentally the only EU member not to suffer from a recession.
Before I wax too lyrical, a temptation I sometimes cede to regarding France, Poland is also an ordinary country pursuing its particular agenda. A heavily coal-dependent country it has also taken the lead on expanding shale gas in Europe. The Polish foreign minister travelled to Benghazi recently to express (quite eloquently) support for the rebels without giving full recognition to their provisional government (probably a wise policy). Meanwhile it is also being sued by an imprisoned Saudi subject for Poland’s collaboration in the United States of America’s extralegal imprisonment and torture regime.
A mixed bag, as ever.. With any luck however Poland’s renewed confidence and optimism could inspire a more positive and constructive approach in the next European Council summits – rather than the rather reflexive and negative approach we’ve grown used to.