The PO is drawing up a bill that may exclude President Lech Kaczyński from participation in European Council summits, according to Gazeta Wyborcza.
It is the cabinet that decides who attends the EU summits, and if the President wants to go, he can only count on the Prime Minister`s good will. That is a solution favoured by the PO, which is drawing up a bill on the cooperation of government authorities on EU-related matters, or the so called `competence bill.` Gazeta has been able to see the draft.
Poland is to be represented by the Prime Minister. By the President - only in exceptional cases. `The Council of Ministers, at a motion made by the Prime Minister in agreement with the President, can authorise the President to participate in a European Council meeting,` reads the draft.
The document contains two milder alternative versions. But one of these also awards the competence to the cabinet - saying that the cabinet, at the Prime Minister`s request, can authorise a `government authority` to represent Poland.
Only the third version - least probable, according to Gazeta`s source in the PO - leaves open the question of who should represent Poland at EU summits.
The bill strengthens the Prime Minister`s position. It is him who draws up Poland`s positions for the Council meetings, though these ultimately require the whole cabinet`s approval to become official.
The PO has consulted the draft with legal experts, including a former Constitutional Tribunal judge.
`The Constitution states that Poland`s foreign policy is conducted by the cabinet, and also gives it "general authority in the field of relations with other countries and intergovernmental organisations." So even in the version harshest for the President, the draft is constitutional,` says Gazeta`s source in the PO.
`The PO, which is at war with the president, is interested in eliminating Lech Kaczyński from foreign policy rather than in creating a framework for cooperation, which is what the "competence bill" should do,` says Adam Lipiński, PiS vice-chairman.
Today both the Prime Minister and the President can represent Poland at EU summits, which, given their strained relations, has lead straight to conflict. Its most picturesque manifestation was the October `chair war,` when both Donald Tusk and Lech Kaczyński wanted to attend a Council meeting in Brussels. The President was refused a government plane, but he still got what he wanted by chartering a commercial aircraft. And he sat at the table next to Mr Tusk. The PM later called the scramble over the plane to Brussels one his greatest mistakes as PM.
What happens if the President vetoes the bill? `We`ll work out a deal with the SLD, reject the veto and the bill enters in force,` says the PO source.
But the President has another way of blocking the bill - he can send it to the Constitutional Tribunal for review. `Judges don`t like cases like this. They`re bound by no deadlines, so they`ll likely keep poring over it for months. Perhaps even until the President`s term expires,` notes constitutional expert Prof Piotr Winczorek.