Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

Polish TV airs alternative report on EU summit

  • Wiadomosci reported that Poland had "laid bare" the EU's democratic deficit

The flagship news programme on Polish public TV described the Tusk row on Thursday (9 March) as a triumph that laid bare German EU bullying, in a sign of Poland's new political environment.

EU states on Thursday (9 March) snubbed the Polish delegation by re-electing Donald Tusk as Council chief despite fierce opposition by Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo, whose Law and Justice (PiS) party abhors him.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Most media, including those that were considered loyal to PiS, described it as a fiasco for Warsaw.

But Wiadomosci, the flagship news show of Poland's public broadcaster, TVP, said Tusk had been re-elected due to German pressure and that Poland had achieved its goal by “laying bare” how the EU really worked.

"Today's summit in Brussels demonstrated that the EU lacks democracy, and even the appearance of it," said TVP's reporter after EU heads of state voted 27 to 1 in favour of Tusk.

Viewers were then shown an old clip in which Martin Schulz, a German politician who is running for election in autumn, said the spirit of Europe "may have to be imposed by force".

They were told that the EU had blackmailed Greece back in the day to accept the terms of its bailout; and that the EU was corrupt, incompetent, and wanted to flood Poland with refugees.

TVP said that Tusk, who is despised by PiS chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had tried to cover up knowledge of a financial scam in Poland.

The news programme argued people like Tusk were only chosen because EU election procedures were less transparent than Vatican conclaves.

"Some of the most important positions [in the EU] are held by people who likely wouldn't stand a chance if the positions were filled by popular elections", a TVP reporter said, adding that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was mixed up in a tax scandal in Luxembourg.

TVP also played a clip of Juncker at a summit in Riga in 2015, when he greeted EU leaders by slapping them on the neck in what looked like he was drunk.

Bundling

The news report bundled its EU coverage with material on the Council of Europe, a separate body based in France.

It said the Council promoted Islamic sharia law, and republished a statement by Kaczynski from 2015 in which he claimed, falsely, that there were 54 sharia zones in Sweden.

"The Council is indeed analysing the compatibility of Sharia law with the European charter of human rights, but hadn't so far taken a position and the elements gathered so far are rather opposed to the conclusions drawn by Polish tv," a press officer for the institution told EUobserver.

PiS took control of public media shortly after coming to power in October 2015.

It also seized control of the constitutional court in a scandal that triggered a special EU monitoring procedure on rule of law.

Polish TV reports now trumpet PiS successes on a daily basis, quoting economists or other experts who all sing the government’s praise.

TVP also promulgates the party’s right-wing values.

In other segments on Thursday, it attacked a gay mayor in the town of Slupsk over travelling to Berlin and accused people at a recent women’s day rally of hate speech.

Obama report

Polish TV already raised eyebrows at last July's Nato summit in Warsaw.

The US president at the time, Barack Obama, met with his Polish counterpart, the PiS party’s Andrzej Duda, and publicly voiced US “concern” over Poland’s “actions” in the constitutional court affair.

Polish TV showed the Obama-Duda meeting, but it silenced the original audio, while a Polish narrator said that Obama had congratulated Duda on Poland’s democratic credentials.

EU re-elects Tusk, Poland isolated

EU leaders took just 30 minutes to vote Donald Tusk back into office, in a diplomatic fiasco for Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo.

Poland snubbed twice in EU summit fiasco

[Updated] Poland tried and failed to block EU summit conclusions shortly after failing to block Tusk’s re-election as Council chief, prompting bitter accusations.

Poland faces 'nuclear option' of EU sanctions

The EU Commission could ask member states to impose sanctions against Poland for its breach of the rule of law in a crucial meeting, though experts say the country is unlikely to be punished.

News in Brief

  1. May U-turn on fee for EU nationals in UK
  2. French data watchdog gives Google €50m fine
  3. EU hits Russians with sanctions over Salisbury attack
  4. 'Don't look for answers to Brussels', EU tells UK
  5. Germany warns UK not to 'misuse' EU patience on Brexit
  6. Germany sent 8,658 asylum-seekers to other EU states
  7. Poll: Macron popularity up four percent
  8. 'Economy is broken' says Oxfam in global inequality report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Turkish NBA star takes on Erdogan
  2. 'Meme ban' still on table in EU copyright bill, says MEP
  3. Brexit power grab by MPs hangs over May's 'Plan B'
  4. Polish mayor's funeral marred by Tusk TV dispute
  5. Salvini and Kaczynski - the new 'axis' powers?
  6. Seven member states miss climate plan deadline
  7. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  8. Germany led way on EU rights protection

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us