Sunday

25th Feb 2018

Poland vows anti-EU campaign after Tusk fiasco

  • Witold Waszczykowski in Poland's parliament.

Poland has vowed to obstruct EU work in retaliation for the re-election of Donald Tusk as president of the Council at last week's summit.

“We need to drastically reduce the level of trust towards the EU," Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski told Superexpress, a Polish tabloid, in an interview out on Saturday (11 March).

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When asked what measures he planned to take, he said: “For instance, blocking different [EU] initiatives, in order to play a very tough game”.

“For whole years, Polish public opinion was kept naive, thinking that the EU was a club of altruists, which takes care of joint outcomes. Yesterday we were shown that it’s different,” he added.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party last week tried and failed to block another term at the EU helm for Tusk, its political rival.

Polish society strongly supports the EU despite having elected a populist government that frequently bashes Europe.

Waszczykowski ruled out any drastic ideas, such as taking Poland out of the EU.

"We have to work there. However, we must realise that at any moment we could be fooled," he said in his interview.

Polish leaders have accused Tusk of being "Germany's candidate" and said he should take German citizenship "to set things clear".

According to Belgian daily Le Soir, German chancellor Angela Merkel urged Polish prime minister Beata Sydlo at the EU meeting to tone down the anti-German rhetoric.

Merkel also reportedly said it was false to claim that Poland was ignored at the EU level because all previous summit conclusions for the past 11 years were adopted with Poland’s consent.

Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel voiced EU frustration with Poland even more boldly.

He told journalists last week that Warsaw had dragged domestic politics into the EU presidential election.

"It cannot become the norm that one country boycotts our work because of purely domestic political reasons," he said on Friday, telling Polish leaders to act "like adults".

Meanwhile, the Tusk fiasco has opened the door to new allegiances in Europe.

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen offered Poland, Hungary and Britain to work together on dismantling the EU.

"I think we can work together in many points," Le Pen told a correspondent for Rzeczpospolita, a Polish daily, in an article published on Sunday.

The French politician mentioned the blockage of EU efforts on migrant-sharing as an example.

She said the European Commission's investigation into Warsaw's alleged breaches of rule of law was meddling in Poland's domestic affairs.

Le Pen, who has close relations with the Kremlin, also told Rzeczpospolita that Nato was obsolete and that Central and Eastern Europe should be demilitarised.

Tusk dragged into 'political' spy probe

EU Council chief appeared as witness in a Russian spy probe in Warsaw amid increasingly toxic political climate in one of the Union's largest states.

Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission

While the dialogue between Warsaw and the Commission has improved since new prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki entered office, there is no sign of compromise over rule of law concerns - as the clock ticks towards a March deadline.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

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