“Poland belongs to the EU and the EU belongs to Poland,” Prime Minister Beata Szydło affirmed as the European Union considers launching an unprecedented infringement procedure against Warsaw over the rule of law. EURACTIV Poland reports.
There will be no ‘Polexit’, Szydło said in her speech at the 15th Foreign Policy Forum in Warsaw last week (9 November).
“We have announced that we will make our country more secure, that we will actively pursue Polish interests in the European Union, that the strength of Polish foreign policy will be its strong position in regional cooperation and that it will reflect the expectations and ambitions of the citizens of Poland.
“We have made good on these promises,” she said.
The prime minister’s comments come as the European Parliament prepares to discuss a resolution on Wednesday (15 November) calling on the EU to initiate an unprecedented infringement procedure against the country for breaking the rule of law.
In the MEPs’ opinion, Warsaw failed to dispel concerns about the division of powers and the independence of the judiciary in Poland. They appeal to President Andrzej Duda not to sign the laws reforming the country’s legal system until full independence of the judiciary is guaranteed.
“Sometimes our assertiveness is irritating and is being suppressed”
In her speech, the prime minister did little to appease tensions, however, suggesting that the views of Poland were being “suppressed” by bigger EU countries.
“We will listen attentively to the voices of the medium and small member states. We know well what challenges they face. We know that acting alone will always be under pressure from European tandems, triangles or squares that will be voted by the big.”
The head of the Polish government stressed that today, anyone thinking about the future of the continent needs to engage in dialogue with central European countries. Initiatives undertaken within the Visegrád Group, Visegrád Plus, the Three Seas Initiative or the Bucharest 9 make them important participants in European political processes.
“Sometimes our assertiveness is irritating and is being suppressed. No wonder, we are effective in changing the European political scene, while others are trying to defend their interests by maintaining the status quo,” said Szydło.
Poland’s foreign policy enjoys high international authority, she said noting the fact that Poland was granted a seat of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council with unprecedented support of 190 votes, with two abstentions.
Economy and sovereignty first
A strong, competitive and innovative economy of the community is key for Poland, Szydło pointed out.
However, the prime minister predicts that new European taxes will not heal the union, as transactional, environmental and climatic conditions will be only a source of funding further centralised institutions.
“The EU must be an area that is friendly to economic development. Therefore, we should jointly resist the tendencies supporting or deepening the developmental differentiation,” argued Szydło.
Szydło also drew attention to the EU’s experience with sovereignty.
“There have been cases where the stronger ones enforced their opinion upon the weaker,” she recalled. “That is why we stand for a Europe based on the principle: equal with equal, free with free, Europe for citizens, closer to their needs,” said Szydło.
She also stressed that the Polish government is in favour of a community in which Christian traditions are “not subject to ideological censorship” and Christians do not feel uncomfortable or ashamed of their faith and tradition.
According to her, the EU can only draw its strength from the sovereignty of European states and from the democratic mandate renewed by elections. Reducing the role of national parliaments would be a prescription for another integration crisis.
Szydło also noted the strong Eurosceptic movement in many member states, referring to the British exit referendum as the most prominent manifestation of the phenomenon.
“With no sober reflection on why such a return has come to European politics, it is hard to talk seriously about the repair of Europe,” she warned.
In Poland’s assessment, the breakthrough in security was last year’s NATO summit, where decisions were made to reinforce the Alliance’s eastern flank significant military presence on the territory of Poland.
“The dream of generations of Poles has come true: for the first time in our recent history, our security is based not only on treaty guarantees, but on the real strength of our armed forces, our allies, and in partnership with them. This would not have been possible without a positive return in relations with the United States,” the head of government said. In her opinion, there is no alternative to the security guarantees resulting from NATO membership.