Monday

18th Feb 2019

Poland to push for 'radical' new EU treaty

  • Kaczynski: EU should be a "superpower" and a "confederation" of nation states (Photo: ois.org.pl)

The EU should have a new treaty that shifts power from the European Commission to EU states and Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk should resign, Poland has indicated ahead of Tuesday’s (28 June) summit.

Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski told press on Monday that prime minister Beata Szydlo would likely outline Poland’s post-Brexit vision at the leaders’ dinner.

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  • Warsaw: Deputy Polish PM invited British bankers to relocate to the Polish capital (Photo: Sebastian Deptula)

“These proposals are quite radical. We are thinking about a new European treaty and to give the main power in the EU to the European Council, not the commission,” he said.

“We also blame the leadership of the European Union for the mistakes, at least a part of the European leadership should suffer the consequences and they should give the space for negotiations and talks to new politicians”, he added.

Speaking the same day in an interview with the Rzeczpospolita daily, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), said mounting euroscepticism in countries such as France and the Netherlands showed that “the vision of the EU forced upon us by the Lisbon Treaty has failed”.

He said “member states should have more sovereignty inside the union … we have to maintain a Europe of nation states that cooperate with each other, ideally creating a confederation”.

He said “the bureaucratic pressure from Brussels [the commission] should be weakened” and that its role should be limited to regulating the single market.

He also said the European Parliament “should be composed of representatives of national parliaments”.

He said the EU should at the same time strive to become a “superpower”, with a European Council president who would command an EU “army” and take charge of a more robust foreign policy toward China, Russia and the US.

He added that Tusk, the Polish European Council chief and his long-time political nemesis, should "disappear from European politics."

“As a negotiator, Donald Tusk bears direct responsibility [for Brexit] … but that also goes for the whole European Commission in its current composition”.

City of Warsaw

Waszczykowski, in his press briefing, added that EU countries should stop meeting in novel formats, such as the founding group of six, or the Normandy format in which France and Germany handle talks with Russia on Ukraine.

He warned that deeper integration of eurozone states would be equally divisive, but that if Poland were to adopt the euro in current conditions it would create an “economic catastrophe” in the country.

The minister spoke after meeting in Warsaw with the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Romania and the UK's minister for European affairs.

He also met with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany and France in Prague later the same day.

For her part, Szydlo, the Polish PM, spoke with British leader David Cameron by phone on Monday and is to hold a bilateral meeting with him in Brussels on Tuesday.

She said she wanted Polish people who had emigrated to the UK to return to Poland but that those who aimed to stay in the UK should “have the same rights as before”.

Mateusz Morawiecki, the deputy PM, invited bankers from the City of London to relocate to Warsaw, saying “our economy will grow much faster than those in the eurozone, which are in stagnation”.

Senseless, absurd?

Other Polish politicians criticised Kaczynski's ideas, however.

Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, a left-wing former Polish PM, warned that there is no appetite in the EU for a new treaty. “These proposals are senseless, because they amount to an invitation for a no-holds-barred [political] scrap”.

Ryszard Petru, an economist who founded the liberal Modern party, predicted the EU would split into three zones: the eurozone, pro-EU countries outside the euro, and “almost-out of the EU” states such as Hungary and Poland.

“If you’re looking for the most eurosceptic country after the UK in the EU, sadly that’s Poland,” he said.

He said Polish authorities should have consulted with their EU partners before presenting their new vision of the treaty, but that Kaczynski is a recluse who hardly speaks to anybody outside PiS.

The idea that Tusk or Juncker should resign was “absurd”, he added.

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