Thursday

21st Jan 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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. Brexit prompted finance exodus from UK to France
  2. Italian PM Conte wins confidence vote in Senate
  3. Borrell washes hands of EU's Venezuela policy
  4. Russia backs Greece in eastern Mediterranean dispute
  5. 'Ski-holiday' Switzerland reaches new infection high
  6. Germany extends lockdown, others expected to follow
  7. Barnier to be Brexit special adviser to von der Leyen
  8. EU commisioner to visit Bosnia's Lipa migrant camp

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. MEPs call to halt Russia pipeline over Navalny arrest
  2. EU targets vaccinating 70% of adults by summer
  3. Portugal pushes to start delayed 'future EU' conference
  4. EU Parliament pressing for inquiry into Frontex
  5. Untapped potential of the single market could boost European recovery
  6. Biden's 'Age of Aquarius'? Mars and Venus will clash over China
  7. The new dimension of 'ever-closer union'
  8. What do new CDU chief's pro-Russia views mean for Europe?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us