Poland/European Union – It is an understatement to say that relations between Brussels and Warsaw have not been very good for the last several years. Many issues (“LGBT rights” and reforms of the judiciary in particular) pit the Polish government, led by PiS, a social-conservative party of Christian democratic inspiration, against EU institutions that are controlled by liberals and the socialist Left. It is in this context that part of the Polish Right is toying with the idea of a Polexit. The opposition, not least Donald Tusk, is jumping into the breach since it had been brandishing the spectre of a Polexit for years, which they claimed PiS wants.
Polexit with weak minority support in Poland
A poll published in July by the daily Rzeczpospolita showed that only 17% of Poles were currently in favour of a Polexit, and other recent polls have shown even lower support for leaving the EU. Whether this is due to sincere pro-EU beliefs or simply political realism, leaving the EU is not at all on the agenda for PiS, and all the more so because it would be grist to the mill of the opposition Civic Platform (PO). Faced with persistent rumours fuelled by both the liberals and the national-conservative Konfederacja movement, and even underhandedly by PiS’ coalition partner Solidarna Polska, PiS leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński has come forward to call off a premature debate.
Poland’s future is in the European Union
“There will be no Polexit. This is propaganda that has been used against us many times. We clearly see Poland’s future in the European Union,” he said in an interview with the Polish press agency PAP. Kaczyński is nonetheless highly critical of the EU institutions and some member states, including Germany: “To a large extent, treaties are no longer respected or are used as pretexts.
The principle of equality between countries is also being violated, and it is happening in a very radical way. There is also a tendency for the strongest countries, especially one in particular, Germany, to instrumentalise the EU. We must oppose this.
We are in favour of the EU treaties being clarified in an appropriate manner in order to make abuses of all kinds a lot more difficult. […]
We want to be in the EU, but at the same time we want to remain a sovereign state. We want what is contained in the treaties to be strictly adhered to.
[…] It must be added […] that matters linked to the judiciary fall under the exclusive competence of member states and cannot be subjected to the kind of interference that is currently taking place. […] There is another principle that must be respected and must be strongly emphasised in this “improved Union”, as one might call it, and that is the principle of equality between member states. If something is allowed in one country, it means it is allowed in all of them.”
Poland was, is, and will be a member of the European Union.
On this subject, the chairman of the PiS parliamentary group in the Sejm, Ryszard Terlecki – whose speech at the Karpacz Economic Forum reignited speculation about Polexit inclinations within PiS –said nothing other than this:
“We don’t want to leave the EU, we are very much in favour of the EU, of taking part in the EU, but we must not be drawn into something that will restrict our freedom and limit our development.”
Terlecki himself had made it very clear, like Jarosław Kaczyński: “Poland was, is, and will be a member of the European Union.”