Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

Polish Nazi-jibe MEP 'spams' EU inboxes

  • Czarnecki: 'Every euro-deputy got at least 1,600 emails' (Photo: pis.org)

MEPs and Brussels-based journalists have been "spammed" by letters of support for Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki following calls for his dismissal.

"It is obvious to everyone that these actions are a form of new sanctions against Poland," one letter, signed under the name Beata Perchal and emailed from a Polish news portal called Virtualna Polska, said on Tuesday (16 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Pro-free press activist at anti-PiS rally in Warsaw in 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Kacper Pempel)

The same text was also sent in German under the name Stefan Grzywacz and from other gmail addresses.

The letters praised Czarnecki's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland for its controversial reform of the Polish judiciary and for its economic triumphs.

They attacked a Polish opposition MEP, Roza Thun, for her "scandalous" criticism of PiS in German media and accused the EU of trying to sway member states by "the rule of the strongest, that excludes peoples and nations".

Another letter from the Polish American Congress of Eastern Massachusetts, an expat group in the US, repeated some of the talking points word for word.

"It is obvious to everyone that these actions are a form of new sanctions against Poland," it said, adding that the EU was trying to rule Poland by "diktat".

The main groups in the European Parliament have called for Czarnecki to be fired from his vice-president post after he called Thun by a Polish name for a Nazi collaborator.

The dispute comes amid a European Commission sanctions procedure against Warsaw on grounds that PiS has seized control of the country's courts and judges in breach of EU rules.

The letters cited above were part of a much bigger pro-Czarnecki campaign that also included mass-scale tweets, some of which appeared to come from automated accounts.

Czarnecki himself said on Polish radio from Strasbourg on Wednesday that "every euro-deputy got at least 1,600 emails with support for me, so it was an action on a huge scale".

"There were more mails in my defence than in the case of Acta, so that's quite an impressive result," he said, referring to a defunct "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement".

Spam

The pro-Czarnecki action backfired in some EU quarters, however.

"The spam we all received … is by no means acceptable and - allow me to say - quite counterproductive," Danish liberal MEP Jens Rohde said in reply.

"It would be a good idea to send out an email with an apology to members and staff, who are wasting a lot of time because of your campaign," Rohde told Czarnecki.

A Polish journalist, Gabrielle Hubler, wrote back to the pro-Czarnecki mailing list saying: "Do stop sending me your propaganda emails".

PiS has also taken control of Polish state media and has previously faced accusations of using Russian-style fake news and internet trolling tactics.

TVP 1, the Polish state broadcaster, reported on Tuesday that the "independent" pro-Czarnecki campaign, which it called a "success", had sent four times as many emails as the anti-Acta one.

Partly free

Freedom House, a leading US NGO, described Polish media as being "partly free" in a report this week.

PiS support has surged to a high of 43 percent inside Poland amid its EU confrontation, which also includes a row on migrant quotas, January polls said.

But Poland has lost friends on the EU stage, with Sebastian Kurz, the new Austrian chancellor, saying in FAZ, a German newspaper, on Wednesday that he endorsed the commission's actions despite PiS having angled for his help.

"No matter which member state is concerned, it always merits a close look if democracy and rule of law are under threat, or if there's a perception of such a threat," Kurz said.

"If need be, we'll support the commission," he said.

Opinion

EU's 'old men' must pressure Poland on abortion rights

Despite fresh crackdowns on Poland's already restrictive abortion laws, EU commission president Juncker did not raise the issue with the new Polish PM Morawiecki - perhaps because it was an all-male event?

New Polish PM aims for 'progress' on rule of law

The new Polish prime minister has hit a more conciliatory tone in Brussels when meeting EU commission chief Juncker, but sticks to the judicial reform despite the threat of possible sanctions.

Opinion

Bulgaria must stop this neo-Nazi Lukov march

Just as Bulgaria begins its six-month presidency of the EU, thousands of neo-Nazis will be marching in the streets of the capital, Sofia. This homage to Hristo Lukov, responsible for 11,300 Jewish deaths, must be banned.

Agenda

Western Balkans and Brexit restart This Week

The EU Commission will unveil its strategy for the Western Balkans in an effort to keep the strategically important region close. It will be a busy week at the EP with geo-blocking – almost – coming to an end.

News in Brief

  1. EU hits Mastercard with €570m fine
  2. Romanian minister prepares to cancel corruption cases
  3. Sefcovic: no gas supply problems this winter
  4. Report: Commission warning on passport-sale schemes
  5. France summons Italian ambassador over colonial remark
  6. May U-turn on fee for EU nationals in UK
  7. French data watchdog gives Google €50m fine
  8. EU hits Russians with sanctions over Salisbury attack

Opinion

EU parliament vote strengthens whistleblower protection

We must not undervalue what a massive step the European Parliament vote represents. The hard work has paid off. We can take a moment to celebrate, but the hard work begins again for finalising strong protection for European whistleblowers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. May pushes defeated Brexit deal, offers no Plan B
  2. European Parliament targets 'fake' political groups
  3. What is fate of non-euro EU states after Brexit?
  4. Turkish NBA star takes on Erdogan
  5. 'Meme ban' still on table in EU copyright bill, says MEP
  6. Brexit power grab by MPs hangs over May's 'Plan B'
  7. Polish mayor's funeral marred by Tusk TV dispute
  8. Salvini and Kaczynski - the new 'axis' powers?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us