View Full Version : Should Poland's Kaczynski brothers resign for their mishandling of the EU summit ?

27-06-07, 16:25
The president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, supported by his identical twin Jaroslaw (Poland's Prime Minister), almost put the EU's Reform Treaty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Treaty) in jeopardy by threatening to veto the project if they did not get a voting power almost equal to that of Germany.

What is this voting system about ?

Currently, the four heavy weights of the EU, Germany (population 88 million) France (61m), the UK (60m), and Italy (59m) are allocated 29 votes each, while Poland (39m) and Spain (45m) have 27 votes each. This means that with less than half of the population of Germany, Poland already get about the same number of votes as Germany. This is totally unfair to bigger countries, Germany in particular.

EU decisions must have a qualified majority voting to be adopted. The Nice Treaty established that this was 74% of the votes representing 62% the EU's population. The Reform Treaty aimed at correcting this unbalance with a system of "double majority" : votes of 55% of member states representing 65% of the EU's population. This is what Poland couldn't accept, although it still played in its favour, being one of the EU's 6 big countries.

Poland should be more populous than France !

The Kaczynski brothers offended a lot of Europeans when they claimed that Poland should have more votes if its war deads were taken into account.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced : "We are only demanding one thing, that we get back what was taken from us. If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would today be looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million." (=> see BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6227834.stm)).

First of all, it is unacceptable to bring dirt from WWII at an EU summit, even more so in order to bargain for votes. The war ended over 60 years ago, Germany lost a lot of territory (and people) to Poland as war reparations, apologised many times, and helped Poland in its economic recovery after the Communist era (and still does).

Secondly, what the Polish Prime Miniters claims is absolute nonsense ! If we look at WWII casualties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wwii_casualties), we see that 50% more German people died during the war than Poles (7.5m against 5m). And these figues include 3m of Jews who died in Poland, but they were not necessarily Polish. In fact, almost all the Nazi extermination camps were located in Poland, where the Nazi sent Jews from all over Europe. There were no extermination camps (only labour camps) in Western Europe or Germany/Austria itself (see list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_concentration_camps_of_Nazi_Germany)). 7 were in Poland, 1 in Belarus, 1 in Ukraine and 1 in Croatia. This explains the high death toll for Poland.

Then, what could justify that Poland would have reached a population of 66m today, had it not lost about 5 million people ? Just compare the evolution of various European population since 1939 :

France => 41.7 million inhabitants in 1939. 562,000 war deads (so about 41 million in 1945). Current population = 61 million, including about 10% of post-war immigrants. Real increase = +14 million (+34%).

Belgium => 8.4 m in 1939 and 1945. Now : 10.3m including 6% of post-war immigrants. Real increase = + 1.28 m (+15%).

Germany => 69.6m in 1939. 62m in 1945. Now 88m, including 19% (16.7m) of foreigners and recent immigrants. Real increase since 1945 = + 9.5m (+15%)

Sweden => 6.3 m in 1939 and 1945. Now 9.1 m including 12% of foreign-born. Real increase = +1.7m (+27%).

Poland => 27m in 1939. 22m in 1945. 39m now. Increase since 1945 = +17m (+77%).


Poland has had a demographic growth well in excess of the other countries above. If WWII hadn't happened, it is doubtful that it would have had the same spectacular growth, usually associated with a post-war baby boom. Even if it had experienced the same 77% of increase in 60 years, its current population would be 47.8 million, NOT 66 million !

If Germany had had the same birth rate as Poland after WWII, its population would now be 129.4 million (112.7m + 16.7m immigrants/foreigners).

So, however you look at it, had WWII happened or not, had Poland had a more normal birthrate, or had Germany had the same birthrate as Poland, there is no way that Poland could have had a population of 66 m now, and it could not have had a higher proportion to Germany than what it has now.

I think that in the light of these new facts, we should give Poland a lower voting power than its current population, for cheating by having had a birthrate 3 or 4 times higher than the European average since 1945. Or let's just take the 1939 population, this way Poland accounts for 38.5% of Germany's population, as opposed to 44.5% now. :-)