The EU is nowhere near as good without UK, says Polish deputy PM
Polish Deputy Prime Minister tells business leaders that the debate about EU membership in the UK worries him and the continent at large
The Polish Deputy Prime Minister, Jacek Rostowski, encouraged British businesses to invest in Poland at the CBI Annual Conferenc today, telling delegates that his country and the UK have more in common than divides them.
Drawing comparisons between the two nations, he highlighted that Poland and the UK are Atlanticists; strong regional powers in Europe; united in their belief and defence of free market principles and trade; and both “nations of shopkeepers” with strong and dynamic communities of innovative small and medium-sized businesses.
Mr Rostowski highlighted the strong performance of the Polish economy in recent years, singling out prudent government policy and Poland’s membership of the European Union as having played a critical part in the country’s ability to weather recession on the continent.
In recent years Poland has shot up the rankings as a country in which it is easy to do business, while its export to GDP ratio has improved from 39% to 49% in the last decade, he said.
On the day that the CBI launched its Our Global Future report, Mr Rostowski launched an impassioned defence of the EU and made the case for continued UK membership.
He said the current debate about the UK’s membership worried him and other continental leaders, and argued that Britain would not be able to secure ambitious trade deals – such as that signed with Canada recently or with the US in the future – without the weight of the EU behind it.
Furthermore, he argued that it was unthinkable that the UK would tolerate a relationship with the EU like that of Norway, where it would be unable to influence policy and therefore marginalised.
Concluding, Rostowski stated there is a need for reform in Europe, and that Poland - like the UK – has gripes with aspects of EU policy such as on energy policy.
To best position Poland, the UK and the EU for global success he argued that a constructive discussion is now needed about this reform agenda to ensure that all countries gain the strong and business friendly EU that is needed.