Polish FM: We are committed to EU but Commission is no ‘super-government’

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz presents an annual report on Polish foreign policy in 2018 in the Sejm, or lower house session hall, in Warsaw, Poland, 21 March 2018. [EPA-EFE/RADEK PIETRUSZKA POLAND OUT]

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz outlined his country’s foreign policy aims for 2018 this week, putting special emphasis on security issues and criticising EU institutions for using “double standards” and acting like a “super-government”. EURACTIV Poland reports.

Addressing the Sejm [parliament], Czaputowicz said the European Union was in a crisis and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe wanted continued engagement of the US and NATO in the region, stressing concerns about Russia.

“Russia is seeking a revision of the political order in Europe that took shape after 1989. This is a threat. The old slogan of every reasonable diplomacy – security above all – is therefore also our guideline.”

“Only a reliable deterrence based on real power can provide us with peace and security,” Czaputowicz said.

He praised the formation, in cooperation with Romania, of the ‘Bucharest Nine’.

“The postulates concerning the military strengthening of NATO’s Eastern flank, which were put forward by this group of countries, were adopted at the 2016 Warsaw summit and implemented last year,” he said.

 

Poland is in favour of NATO maintaining its “open door” policy towards other partners: “We want to develop cooperation with NATO partner countries. Above all, from its immediate surroundings – namely Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – with which we share a far-favoured concept of the nature of threats to international security.”

Czaputowicz also stressed Poland’s commitment to the idea of European integration, mentioning the high support for EU membership in his country.

“Thanks to its presence in the Union, Polish citizens can learn and study abroad. They also use the common market. It is not surprising then that 87% of Poles support the EU membership. This is the highest rate in Europe,” he said.

Future EU and security main topics during Merkel's Poland visit

After her inaugural visit to Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to Warsaw. In the talks, there were assurances of “the readiness to fill the Polish-German partnership with content on the European and global level” as well as the “convergence of interests in foreign policy matters.” EURACTIV Poland reports.

He explained that Poland is one of the largest recipients of EU funds but also a leader in their effective spending.

But he said Poland does not agree with the idea of “adjusting the EU budget to the rule of law” as “unclear criteria may lead to arbitrary restrictions on the member states.”

Criticism of EU institutions

“Nothing harms the idea of European integration like the actual inequality of its member states in relation to law, the use of double standards and the Commission’s departure from the role of an objective guardian of treaties towards an instrument in the hands of the largest states,” he criticized, adding that Poland is open to “dialogue and substantive discussion with the Commission.”

The EU in December launched unprecedented legal action against Warsaw’s rightwing government over “systemic threats” to the independence of the Polish judiciary and gave it three months to comply. The deadline for explaining its position was 20 March.

Czaputowicz underlined that Poland will “defend our right to carry out justice reforms in line with the expectations of Poles. Changes in the judiciary implemented in Poland do not violate the principles of a democratic state of law, and even strengthen these principles.”

Merkel to push for EU unity on delicate Poland trip

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will emphasise bilateral ties and the need for European unity when she meets with top Polish officials, amid ongoing differences between the allies over Polish judicial reforms, migration and a new gas pipeline.

“The Commission is not a super-government, and the Parliament is not a “super-parliament” to instruct national parliaments,” the head of Polish diplomacy said and added:

“The EU is strong only with the real support of citizens. The growing wave of opposition to Brussels is not the cause of the democratic weakness of the EU, but its effect,” Czaputowicz said.

The minister also stressed that Poland’s goal is to further deepen ties in the sphere of security with the United States, and Warsaw being against any steps “provoking the emergence of transatlantic divisions”, but took a harder line on Russia.

“We consider it necessary to maintain a political dialogue. Its essence, however, can not be to ignore its current aggressive policy towards the West. Russia has violated many treaties in recent years. The pragmatic relationship with the Russian Federation lies in the interests of Poland and Europe. Polish diplomacy works to develop a consistent policy of NATO and the EU towards Russia.”

Baltic states against EU sanctions on Poland

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have confirmed that they are against imposing EU sanctions on Poland for alleged breaches to the rule of law. EURACTIV Poland reports.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe