Poland defends a Europe of states

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz speaks during a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, 26 March 2018. [EPA-EFE/Pawel Supernak POLAND OUT]

Poland’s foreign minister has called for strengthening the role of states and national parliaments in the European decision-making process and moving away from the federalist model. EURACTIV.fr reports

At a conference at the Institut Francais des relations internationals (Ifri) on Thursday (5 April), the Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz delivered the Polish vision of the future of the European Union.

The country aims to “strengthen the power of the states in the decision-making process”, which according to him will come as a consequence of the EU gradually distancing itself from the federalist model.

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“Poland isn’t against an EU federation, but the EU has deviated from the principle of a federation,” Czaputowicz stated.

According to him, the European Commission is increasingly focused on protecting the interests of the larger member states. He stated examples such as the Greek crisis and the measures on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary.

In December 2017, the Commission triggered Article 7 against Poland to protect the rule of law, a procedure which, if validated, could lead to a suspension of the country’s voting rights.

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Focus on competition in the single market

Czaputowicz outlined four areas of the Polish vision for the future of the EU: the unity of member states, promotion of European defence, the role of national parliaments and the preservation of the four freedoms of movement in the single market (goods, services, capital and labour).

He called for a protection of competition in the single market against barriers put up using “social” pretexts, in a reference to the tensions between Paris and Warsaw about posted workers.

Since September 2017, Emmanuel Macron has led an offensive at the European level with the goal of regulating this practice to a greater extent and prevening prevent social dumping. Poland, on the other hand, sees this as an attack on the freedom of movement of workers, one of the four fundamental freedoms.

“We don’t accept rules with which our competitive advantage is undermined by rules imposed by stronger partners”, said the head of Polish diplomacy.

What about citizen consultations

Poland wants to strengthen the role of national parliaments in the European decision-making process, and it also confirmed participation in the citizens’ consultations, a project championed by Macron which now has the support of 26 member states, according to the French government.

Each participating state will define the way the consultations will be carried out and Poland could adapt it in order to safeguard the role of its parliament.

The Polish parliament is currently dominated by the conservative Law and Justice, which is still in favour of European integration, despite its current problems with Brussels, according to Czaputowicz.

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