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Friday, 04 July 2014

Will Sikorski be the next EU foreign policy chief?

With leaders haggling over EU top jobs this week, Polish FM Radek Sikorski is the most talked-about candidate for the next foreign policy chief.
His reputation just took a blow in a Polish eavesdropping scandal.
But whether or not he gets the EU post will speak volumes on EU-Russia ties and on whether EU capitals want Brussels to play a bigger role in foreign relations.
For its part, Poland is sending mixed signals on Sikorski’s bid.
When asked by EUobserver last week if he wants to do it, his spokesman said: “Minister Sikorski is not an official candidate for the office of [EU] high representative”.
One Polish diplomat said the job is not as appealing as it looks.
He noted that member states make all the decisions on foreign policy and use the EU as a “scapegoat” when things go wrong.
He added that Poland should keep Sikorski as a “strong, independent” voice in the EU Council and go for the European Commission energy portfolio instead.
On the other hand, Polish PM Donald Tusk has called Sikorski a “natural” choice for the EU.
Sikorski has taken French lessons, indicating an interest in the role, and some Polish diplomats are talking up his EU credentials.
A second Polish diplomat told this website: “Sikorski’s statements on the Russia crisis have been factual and restrained, despite the fact it touches Polish interests in a very emotional way”.
Referring to Sikorski’s recent trips with the French and German FMs to Ukraine and Russia, the diplomat added: “He did not express the Polish point of view, but the European one … He has handled the crisis by using European processes and by working to find a common EU position”.
The 51-year old former journalist used to be known as a right-wing Russia hawk with a loose mouth.
He has bent over backwards to soften his image. But he still advocates EU expansion into Russia’s neighbourhood and a tough reaction to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Source: euobserver.com