Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Nobody has monopoly on Polish patriotism, says Tusk

  • Some 60,000 people marched in Warsaw on Saturday (Photo: Jorge Lascar)

European Council president and former Polish leader Donald Tusk attended a commemoration of Poland's independence in Warsaw on Saturday (11 November), which was marred by a march that included neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Ahead of the rally, Tusk told reporters that Poland's independence day of 1918 was a celebration for every Pole and not just one party.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"No politician in Poland has ever had nor will ever have a monopoly on patriotism," he said.

Tusk's comments were broadly directed towards the governing conservative and nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which took power in 2015.

PiS has since attempted to take direct political control of the judiciary and state media in moves the European Commission says risks undermining the rule of law.

The party also backs large-scale logging in a primeval forest, deemed illegal by the European Commission, and was the only member state not to endorse Tusk for the EU Council presidency.

PiS' collision course with the EU is being led, in part, by the party's leader Beata Szydlo and Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Kaczynski's twin brother was killed in a plane crash in 2010, with Polish prosecutors earlier this year asked by the defence ministry to probe Tusk's alleged role in the death.

The party stokes nationalism and promotes a white Roman Catholic identity, brands refugees as "ticking bombs", and describes people with Muslim backgrounds as security threats.

Such moves appear to have helped turn Saturday's independence march into a rallying call for far-right nationalists as thousands chanted racist and nationalist slogans.

Previous marches are said to have been more peaceful.

But on Saturday, people were carrying banners which included, according to the Associated Press, slogans such as "White Europe of Brotherly Nations".

CNN reported another banner read "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust" while people chanted "Catholic Poland, not Secular" and "Death to Enemies of the Homeland".

Police estimated some 60,000 people attended, drawing far-right sympathisers from the UK and Italy.

The country's interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak praised the march, describing it as a "beautiful sight".

A counter-protest of some 2,000 people was also held nearby.

Interview

'Populism is not a disease'

Populism is something to be understood, says Paolo Graziano, professor of political science at the University of Padua.

News in Brief

  1. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  2. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  3. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired
  4. Luxembourg and Ireland pay highest minimum wages
  5. Freedom of expression under threat in Spain, warn MEPs
  6. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  7. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  8. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  4. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  5. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  2. European far-right political party risks collapse
  3. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table
  4. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  5. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  6. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  7. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  8. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums