Mogherini: Elections in Poland and Spain show there is a need to rethink the EU project

The services of Federica Mogherini will host the tiny task force. [Reuters]

Federica Mogherini said yesterday (25 May) that the results of the presidential election in Poland, the municipal elections in Spain, as well as the news from Greece and the UK, were a reason for the EU to re-think its project.

The EU foreign affairs chief was speaking in Rome, where she was given an award by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI).

The Presidential elections in Poland on 24 May were won by eurosceptic Andrzej Duda, a result that has alarmed the government, which faces its own election race later this year.

>> Read: Conservative candidate wins Polish presidential election

Duda, who is currently an MEP, comes from the opposition Law and Justice party of Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, a Eurosceptic force affiliated to the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). Law and Justice is close to the Catholic church and socially conservative.

With parliamentary elections due in late October, the defeat of outgoing president Bronis?aw Komorowski, an ally of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and a former Civic Platform lawmaker, will weigh on the EPP-affiliated party’s chance of re-election.

The head of Civic Platform’s parliamentary caucus, Rafal Grupinski, said he feared Duda’s win would mean “potential state modernisation moves” would be blocked for the next five years. The change in Poland’s president could eventually lead to a change in Poland’s foreign policy, particularly with regard to the European Union, agencies wrote.

In Spain, the regional and local elections marked the surge of new political forces, the anti-austerity Podemos and market-friendly Ciudadanos, overturning a two-party system that has seen the PP and rival Socialists alternate in power since the end of dictatorship 40 years ago.

>> Read: Local election sends shockwaves to Spanish political establishment

In her speech, Mogherini said that 65 years after the Schuman declaration of 9 May 1950, which proposed to create a new form of organisations of states in Europe, the future of the EU could not be abandoned to the simple confrontation between pro-europeans and eurosceptics.

“The elections’ results in Poland and Spain, albeit very differently, and news from Greece and the UK, tell us that there is a real need of rethinking our being European if we want to save the project of our founding fathers,” Mogherini said.

She argued that it was particularly important to preserve the basic value of diversity in Europe.

“We will remain true to then project of our fathers also if we accept also those who have a father different from ours. It will not be Europe if it gets filled with new ghettos, of new marginals, if we make it live in the fear of the other. Our history, European history has taught us that the other is us,” Mogherini said.

The 2009-2013 eurozone crisis has had many political repercussions. The anti-austerity political force Syriza won the elections in Greece, while another anti-austerity force, the Spanish Podemos, is on the rise.

On the other side of the political spectrum, anti-European and far-right parties have also been boosted, like the Front National in France, UKIP in the UK or Jobbik in Hungary. But perhaps more importantly, mainstream political parties have taken on board some of their anti-EU and xenophobic rhetoric.

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