Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Polish ministers pray for EU not to fall apart

  • Interior of St Anne's church in Warsaw. Sikorski tweeted that the mass was held for 'the spirit of unity in Europe' (Photo: King-of-Herrings)

Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski and fellow government members on Sunday (25 September) prayed at a special mass devoted to EU solidarity amid the financial crisis.

The liturgy, in the church of Wladyslaw z Gielniowa na Ursynowie in Warsaw, was led by Poland's most senior Roman Catholic priest, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, who urged EU leaders to bear in mind basic EU values, such as solidarity and social justice, while making policy.

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"The construction of a European union of countries, people and nations ... can become permanent not on the basis of a joint economy and foreign policy, but mainly on the basis of spiritual unity, common values," he said in his homily.

"I hope that in our societies people's hearts and minds, which see the solution of economic problems differently, find a harmony of understanding, which today becomes a reality in our prayers and worries about a united Europe," he added after the eucharist.

For his part, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, the most senior priest in Warsaw, urged "everybody to take part in a great prayer for Europe."

The language of divine intervention is exotic by the standards of secularist EU countries. But it comes amid fears in Poland, where catholic tradition resonates deeply, that the collapse of the euro and the EU would put the country in danger and could even lead to military conflicts.

Meanwhile, Kowalski's endorsement of the Polish EU presidency is likely to pay dividends in upcoming elections on 9 October.

The ruling centre-right Civic Platform party has put its EU chairmanship at the heart of its campaign. The Polish church has in the past backed the more conservative Law and Justice opposition party. But Law and Justice's biggest church allies these days are fringe characters, such as far-right radio-evangelist Tadeusz Rydzyk.

"We commend unto God in our prayers ... the Polish presidency in the EU Council," Kowalczyk said. "It is a great undertaking, challenge and opportunity for our executive powers, and standing beside them, our whole society."

No senior Law and Justice people went to the Civic Platform mass on Sunday. The event was the third of its kind since July.

Poland tests meaning of EU oath on neutrality

The Polish government has told voters that its man in Brussels, Janusz Lewandowski, will help it get more EU money, testing the meaning of the budget commissioner's oath of neutrality.

Catalonia to declare independence in a few days

Spain's king, Felipe VI, said Catalonia's leaders were breaking up the country's unity as hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied against police violence at Sunday's referendum.

EU Commission's credibility eroding, says Catalonia

A former commission official who now represents the Catalan government says some European commissioners do not agree with the EU commission's official statement on Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain.

Austrian voters reject liberal status quo

Counting continues, but conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is likely to form a coalition with the far-right and could become one of the EU's most vocal critics.

Brexit 'deadlock' prevents move to trade negotiations

EU negotiator Barnier also said after the latest round of Brexit talks that with political will, progress can be achieved in the next two months - in time for the December EU summit to give the green light.

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