Saturday

17th Apr 2021

Pope paves the way to Polish "Yes" vote

  • JOHN PAUL II - The Pope's statement was reported by all Polish media. (Photo: Polish government)

Just three weeks before the EU membership referendum in Poland, Pope John Paul II has recommended that his compatriots join the European Union.

"Entry in the EU structures, with equal rights to those of the other countries, is for our nations and for the adjacent Slav nations, an expression of a historical justice," the Pope said in Polish on Monday, 19 May, to thousands of Polish pilgrims who gathered in Rome.

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

The statement was broadcast and repeated by all Polish media.

Pope John Paul II believes that the former 'Eastern Bloc' countries that enter the EU have a great mission to carry out in the Old World.

After recalling that Poland and other former Eastern block countries are entering the European Union, the pope said: "I know that there are many in opposition to integration. I appreciate their concern about maintaining the cultural and religious identity of our nation. However, I must emphasise that Poland has always been an important part of Europe. Europe needs Poland. The Church in Europe needs the Poles' testimony of faith. Poland needs Europe."

The papal words came at a crucial moment just three weeks ahead of the EU referendum and undermined efforts made by mainly Catholic-rooted political groups such as the conservative League of Polish Families (LPR).

Opponents believe that the Pope, the unquestioned moral authority for Poles, simply does not know the terms on which Poland is joining the EU. Confidentially they confess that a chance for a "No" vote that was in fact never high, was buried with the papal statement.

The Pope's words have to be regarded as a "milestone", Polish minister for Europe, Danuta Hübner said.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal

Spain would be prepared to recognise Kosovo if it clinched a deal with Serbia, Madrid has said, in the first positive signal of its kind since EU-brokered talks resumed.

Kosovo to restart EU/US-led Serbia talks

Restarting talks on Serbia relations will be the new Kosovo prime minister's top priority, he said, but will the EU or the US lead the process?

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Opinion

Montenegro's membership can inspire the European Dream

Today (15 December) I come to Brussels with a simple purpose: to present the credentials of my country, Montenegro, to become the next member state of the European Union, writes prime minister Zdravko Krivokapic.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us