Sunday

25th Feb 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.

Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme

Growth predictions are positive, exports increasing, unemployment dropping and credit-ratings up, says the head of Greece's Syriza delegation to the European Parliament. Now the government in Athens is looking to design its own reform programme.

Analysis

We are not (yet) one people

Talks on the next EU budget will start on Friday. Brussels wants to do much more than before – and needs a lot more money. But arguing about funds won't be enough.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?