Wednesday

25th Apr 2018

Opinion

Poland's diplomatic suicide

  • The final nail in the coffin of Poland’s EU diplomacy has been firmly hammered by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party. (Photo: pis.org.pl)

It does not matter if Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister, gets re-elected as the President of the EU. This week, the final nail in the coffin of Poland’s EU diplomacy has been hammered home by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).

Only the countries of the four in the Visegrad group (V4) can save the Central European candidate, along with Poland’s tarnished reputation.

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.

It is almost impossible to explain why Poland will not support the only possible candidate from Central Europe; especially since Warsaw has made this region a pivot of its foreign policy. This move is self-contradictory and, at first sight, improbable, but nonetheless may effectively end Donald Tusk’s career as the President of the EU.

According to public opinion polls, the Polish people, who are by far the most EU-enthusiastic nation of the Visegrad group, prefer that Donald Tusk remains in his seat. But now they are starting to speculate on what else this government is capable of, while remembering the months-old announcement from Jaroslaw Kaczynski, which has just come true.

A verbal threat had been looming for many months but the general assumption was that Warsaw would not oppose the reelection if it came to a vote. What seemed to be just a diplomatic gamble before, has now become a dreadful reality.

For Kaczynski, the opportunity to damage his old political rival is more important than any loyalty he might have to the Central European alliance. Kaczynski is risking that, instead of Donald Tusk, the EU may choose someone indifferent to the special interests shared by the Visegrad Group.

Twisted logic

So far, the V4 partners have been in favour of the current president of the European Council. All they need to do is stress that Central Europe stands firmly behind their man, and that might just save Poland from itself - for now.

Sadly, the twisted logic of Poland’s leader has revealed itself once again. Earlier he claimed that he can live with lower GDP growth as long as his ideological plan is able to be implemented.

However, the question remains on what will happen if Donald Tusk is not re-elected. Or perhaps more importantly, what he will be able to do without the domestic support of his presidency.

Europe should brace itself, because in each case the result will boost anti-EU sentiment - both in Poland and throughout the EU.

If the former becomes a reality, the initial effect will be felt by the moderate factions of the Polish political arena and society who will find themselves facing an even greater number of obstacles than at present.

Symbolic leader

Having a Polish president of the European Council is a symbolic anchor, helping everyone to believe that Poland is not all about Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Losing this post may strengthen anti-EU factions, which currently only hold a minority.

If anti-EU actors gain ground, nationalists, both in Poland and across Europe, will use the occasion to signal how the EU elites are lacking in democratic legitimacy. However false this may be, it should not be underestimated especially before the crucial elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Should the EU heads of state decide to prolong Donald Tusk mandate against the will of Polish government, they should alternatively present him as the representative of Central Europe - the V4 minus 1. Perhaps this would be the only way to save Europe from Poland’s latest dangerous stunt.

Wojciech Przybylski is editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight, a magazine on Central Europe published by Res Publica foundation in Warsaw

Poland isolated in bid to remove Tusk

Poland appears increasingly isolated in Brussels as it seeks public support to unseat Donald Tusk as president of the European Council.

Poland at war against Tusk's EU job

Poland's Law and Justice Party has put a little-known MEP, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, against Donald Tusk in the race for the European Council presidency.

How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?

Russian domestic television - the only source of foreign news for most Russians - consistently shows Europe over-run by immigrants, beset by terrorist atrocities, and on strike. This has serious consequences.

More commitment to renewables from Council, please

More and more consumers are likely to invest in solar panels in the future as it becomes simpler to produce one's own electricity, writes Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.

News in Brief

  1. UN expects over $4bn in pledges for Syria
  2. Commission wants more public data made available for reuse
  3. Study: Brexit will hit all European farmers
  4. European media face rise in 'verbal violence' from politicians
  5. Greenland PM to keep power despite poll slump
  6. Commissioner optimistic on FYROM name solution
  7. Italian court keeps NGO migrant rescue boat docked
  8. German Jews warned not to wear skullcap in public

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. EU should not play 'games' with military HQs, ex-forces chief says
  2. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work
  3. Time for EU to take charge of global health research agenda
  4. EU in race to set global Artificial Intelligence ethics standards
  5. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  6. Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ
  7. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  8. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  5. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  8. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  9. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  10. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  11. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  12. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan