Poland’s main two parties, the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) and centrist Civic Platform (PO), have declared that they will oppose proposed changes to the EU treaties when they come before the European Parliament (EP) this week.
PO’s leader, former European Council president Donald Tusk, today warned that the ideas epitomise the kind of “naive euro-enthusiasm” that pushed the UK to leave the EU.
Time to update the EU Treaties and deliver a geopolitical Europe!
Today the @EPInstitutional voted in favour of amending the EU Treaties & launching a Convention to do so.
📰 @guyverhofstadt 👇https://t.co/v8nQokKxUY
— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) October 25, 2023
The plans, presented in a report by the EP’s constitutional affairs committee, would shift the EU’s decision-making process away from unanimity among member states and further towards decisions by a qualified majority. They would also broaden and strengthen the powers of EU institutions.
PiS – Poland’s ruling party since 2015 but which is now likely to leave government after last month’s elections – has long been opposed to any suggestion of further centralising the EU. It instead wants the opposite to happen: for the bloc to become a looser “Europe of homelands”.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a senior PiS MEP, called the proposals an “anti-democratic power grab behind citizen’s backs” that would bring about the EU’s “self-destruction”, reports news website Euractiv
“This report is proof of how dangerous the EU has become,” added his PiS colleague, Ryszard Legutko. “It is reminiscent of the story of Dr Frankenstein, who wanted to create a wonderful creature, but instead created a monster.”
The EU is preparing a „German plan” that would „annihilate the Polish state”, said Kaczyński as Poland marks Independence Day.
He warned that the incoming opposition government will „strive to implement this plan” and called on Poles to „fight” against it https://t.co/QDbxmiaazJ
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 11, 2023
While PO is traditionally supportive of European integration – and rarely agrees on anything with its bitter rival PiS – today Tusk also came out against the proposals.
“All Polish MEPs who work with me will vote against the adoption of the report,” he said, quoted by the Polish Press Agency (PAP). This is “not because we are against progressing European integration”, he added, but rather because of the specific nature of some of the proposed ideas and the pace of change.
The EU “needs repair in many places, but the stupidest method will be to fall into this very naive enthusiasm for integration”, said Tusk.
“We remember Brexit,” added Tusk, who was European Council president when the UK voted to leave the bloc. “One of the reasons why the UK left the EU was this naive, sometimes even unbearable euro-enthusiasm, which was transformed into projects that changed the character of the EU.”
— Agata Szczęśniak (@szczesniak__a) November 21, 2023
Tusk noted, however, that even if the European Parliament votes in favour of the plans, they would still need approval by member states at the European Council – something that is highly unlikely.
“No groups on the Polish political scene will allow ourselves to be involved in any decisions, manoeuvres or processes that would limit Polish independence, sovereignty and interests,” he declared.
However, Tusk added that, after years of conflict between Warsaw and Brussels under PiS, the new Polish government that he plans to form next month will see Poland once again become a “leading country in the EU”.
Afterwards, he said that concrete steps to restore the rule of law must be taken before the EU releases Poland’s frozen funds https://t.co/Vhl56kZL3x
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) October 25, 2023
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Main image credit: European Parliament/Flickr (under CC BY 2.0)
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.