Thursday

15th Nov 2018

Polish opposition: EU fiscal treaty means German rule

Opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said Polish leaders at last week's EU summit sold the country's sovereignty to Germany for the sake of "private interests."

Kaczynski made the accusations at a rally in Warsaw on Tuesday (13 December) that saw several thousand people turn out to mark the 30th anniversary of the imposition of martial law in Communist times.

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  • Jaroslaw Kaczynski (l) in Brussels in his former role as Polish prime minister (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

"Herr Tusk and Sikorski: serve the Germans in Berlin, leave Poland to the Poles," one banner proclaimed. "Euro macht frei," another one said, referring to the motto of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

"This [the new treaty on joint economic governance ] is an attack on our sovereignty, our status, our dignity but also our interests. Only people who have gone mad, to put it mildly, would believe that others, those more powerful than us, will look after our interests," Kaczynski said.

He added that Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk agreed the deal for the sake of unspecified "interests of a purely personal nature, some purely private ambitions."

The Polish EU presidency has trumpeted pro-EU sentiment in Poland as the main message of its six-month tenure, with Tusk and Sikorski on Tuesday making light of the protest.

"From what I know, they want to burn Radoslaw Sikorski, hang [finance minister] Jan Vincent Rostowski and dismember Tusk, or the other way around," Tusk told Polish press agency Pap.

"The foreign policy doctrine of PiS [Kaczynski's party] is based on confronting Germany no matter what the situation is," Sikorski told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Polish society is still marked by pro-EU sentiment - a survey in November noted that 68 percent of Poles believe EU policies promote jobs and social welfare

But the fact 47 percent of Poles voted for Kaczynski in last year's presidential elections shows his ideas also have traction.

The pro-EU Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski is taking the question of sovereignty equally seriously - the head of state said he will convene a cross-party round table and call a meeting of the national security council to examine the EU fiscal compact before the Polish parliament holds a vote.

Meanwhile, Sikorski in the Gazeta Wyborcza interview criticised British leader David Cameron for creating "a potential scar on European unity" by his decision to stay out of the new treaty.

He said Cameron fell "victim to the years-long anti-European propaganda" in the UK and mishandled the negotiations.

"The British proposal for an additional protocol came out 24 hours before the summit. Our experience of European politics shows that this is much too late," Sikorski noted.

Poland fears German 'inactivity' more than German power

Poland has issued an extraordinary appeal to Berlin to do all it takes to save the eurozone, saying that only Germany can manage the task and has a "special responsibility" to do so given its history.

New treaty in force when 9 countries have ratified

The first draft of a new treaty meant to tighten economic governance in eurozone countries was circulated Friday with the aim to have the text finalised by January and coming into force once nine countries have ratified it.

Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Italy would be committing economic "suicide" if it fell in line with EU rules, its deputy leader has said, in a sign that Rome has little intention of bowing to pressure ahead of Tuesday's budget deadline.

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