Saturday

17th Apr 2021

Beware 'neo-imperial' Russia, Kaczynski says

Former Polish prime minister and leader of Poland's main opposition party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has warned of Russia's "neo-imperial" foreign policy to all 738 MEPs in Brussels and to dozens of ambassadors.

The message, in the form of an as-yet-unpublished opinion piece due to appear shortly in the Wall Street Journal, accuses Russia of "systematically" trying to "re-acquire its sphere of interest" at a time when the US is paying less attention to Europe.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Mr Kaczynski (l) on a visit to Brussels during his time at the head of the Polish government (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

"There are more signs that there is increasingly less America in Europe. This is bad for both sides. Unfortunately, this is taking place at a time when Moscow's neo-imperial foreign policy causes no objections from the major playmakers in Europe and the US."

It criticises EU states for allegedly putting bilateral business interests with Russia ahead of EU values and strategic considerations.

"Such attempts are simply a gift to those states that do not recognise democratic values and human rights. They [Russia] may appear to be more attractive business partners but they do not adhere to the values and standards that dominate the Euro-Atlantic political sphere."

It also defends the idea of national vetoes against EU policy - a tactic for which the Kaczynski-era Poland became notorious in Brussels in 2006 and 2007.

Referring to Belgium and Germany, Mr Kaczynski wrote: "Two out of three EU countries that use the instrument of veto most often are the 'A students' of European integration ... This means that it is possible to love European unity and, at the same time, creatively oppose some of its aspects."

The opinion piece was also mailed out to MEPs by Mr Kaczynski's Law and Justice party colleague, Ryszard Legutko, who sits with the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the EU parliament.

Former Polish foreign minister Anna Fotyga also sent it to all the EU member states' embassies in Warsaw as well as to the Polish missions of the US, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.

Mr Kaczynski lost the presidential election in Poland in June to the liberal-centrist and Russia-friendly politician Bronislaw Komorowski.

The snap vote took place after his twin brother and former president Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash in Russia in April. The Russian authorities' solemn reaction prompted a short-lived wave of pro-Russian sentiment in Poland, mixed with conspiracy theories about an FSB plot.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

Analysis

Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us