Wednesday

16th Jan 2019

Poland: Russia seeks 'new empire' in Europe

  • Waszczykowski (r), with Flanagan in Dublin on Thursday (Photo: msz.gov.pl)

Poland has warned that Russia could try to build a “new empire” in Europe by military “aggression” in a threat also to “lucky” EU states, such as Ireland, who are not on the front line.

“We currently look at the east with ever greater unease, that Russia could, once again, enter on the path of aggression and of building a new empire, and that we could, once again, become its victim”, Witold Waszczykowski, the Polish foreign minister, said in Dublin on Thursday (24 November) according to Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

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

  • Polish minister spoke about Russia at an Irish think tank (Photo: msz.gov.pl)

He said the fall of the Soviet empire “to an ever greater extent appears to have been a temporary situation, and not a definitive end in history”.

He said Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and of Ukraine in 2014 showed that “Russia is ready to resort to military force against her neighbouring sovereign states”.

He added that Poland is not anti-Russian and would have preferred a “stable and predictable Russia, that acts in accordance with international law”.

Waszczykowski spoke at the The Institute of International and European Affairs, a think tank in the Irish capital, after a two-day visit to the EU’s westernmost member.

He told press in separate remarks that “Ireland is a lucky country which is located very far away from the conflict areas, but in this globalised world there is, of course, no country which is totally immune”.

He also discussed Brexit and the issue of growing euroscepticism in the EU with his Irish counterpart, Charlie Flanagan.

Brexit talks

The Polish minister said EU states “should in the next few months work out a joint position” for talks on future UK relations, set to start at the end of March.

“We have a special issue with the UK because we have hundreds of thousands of Poles living there, so especially for us freedom of movement of people is very much important”, he said.

He said the growth of anti-EU populism in Europe was “disturbing”.

“We should once again place member states at the heart of the European project. If we improve, in this way, the legitimacy of EU institutions, we would respond to at least some of the reasons for the crisis in its [the EU’s] popularity”, he said.

British people voted to leave the EU, in part, because they wanted fewer Polish migrants in the UK.

The referendum in June was followed by an increase in xenophobic attacks on Polish people.

Some 150,000 Poles have also settled in Ireland, becoming its largest minority, and making the Polish language the most widely spoken foreign tongue in the country.

’Good citizens’

Waszczykowski asked for Irish schools to offer Polish language lessons.

He said Poles in Ireland were “good citizens” who “deserve that Polish culture is cultivated here” and that it would be a “good sign and a symbolic decision” if Ireland agreed.

Flanagan, the Irish foreign minister, said Polish relations had “grown hugely in recent years” and that “the Polish community is an extremely valued and integral part of Irish society”.

Ireland and Poland also have special ties with the US.

Waszczykowski and Flanagan voiced confidence in the incoming administration of president-elect Donald Trump.

The Polish minister said Trump’s “campaign statements”, for instance, on US disengagement from Nato, were already being replaced by “traditional US Republican [Party] foreign policies.”

Flanagan said Ireland expected to have “continued engagement” with America.

Column / Crude World

Shinzo Abe's hot-tub diplomacy

Why European leaders should learn from Japanese prime minister's failing diplomacy with Russia and not make the same mistakes.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish PM calls for EU gender equality strategy
  2. Farage says bigger Brexit majority if second referendum
  3. Macron starts 'grand debate' tour after yellow vests protests
  4. Barnier: up to London to take Brexit forward
  5. Stimulus still needed, ECB's Draghi says in final report
  6. May's Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes
  7. German economy hit by global economic turbulence
  8. MEPs narrowly call for end to 'tampon tax'

Analysis

China's 2019 growth outlook

As China's growth seems to be slowing, some observers see the country amid what the New York Times called a "severe downturn". As they mistake China's secular deceleration with cyclical fluctuations, they miss the rapid increase in Chinese living standards.

Opinion

The Azov crisis will backfire

Vladimir Putin's nightmare of Petro Poroshenko's re-election will be even certain as Ukrainians rally around the flag. Next March's election is not just to elect a new president but also a commander-in-chief to deal with five more years of Putin.

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. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  2. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  3. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  4. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  5. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  6. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  7. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025
  8. MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

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