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Poland: Zbigniew Ziobro advocates retaliation against Brussels

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Poland – The conflict between the EU’s governing bodies and the Polish government continues to drag on. Faced with this situation, Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who is also the leader of the United Poland (Solidarna Polska) party whose support is necessary for PiS to keep its majority in the Sejm, is now saying essentially the same as MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski did two months ago, when our Warsaw correspondent Olivier Bault interviewed him..

Civic Platform MEPs initiated resolutions against Poland 

In an interview published on 9 January by the daily Rzeczpospolita, Zbigniew Ziobro spoke at length about the conflict between Brussels and Warsaw, which he recalled is largely due to the efforts deployed by the Civic Platform (PO) in Brussels:

It was the Civic Platform’s MEPs acting within the EPP who initiated resolutions against Poland, demanded sanctions against us, and that funds be taken away from us.

They adopted a text [on the conditionality mechanism] that goes against the European treaties and the Polish constitution, and which now allows the blocking of funds owed to Poland. This has been confirmed by many votes and by various statements made by Tusk and his people.

Morawiecki trusted Angela Merkel 

Ziobro also pointed out PM Morawiecki’s naivety in allowing himself to be fooled by his Western European counterparts when he agreed to withdraw the Polish veto against the conditionality mechanism:

On this issue, I called on Prime Minister Morawiecki to veto. I argued that the conditionality mechanism would be instrumental in the fight against our government. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister was of a different opinion.

(…) He trusted Chancellor Merkel and we now see the results. Everything that Solidarna Polska warned against has come true.

The EU has no interest in the rule of law 

The Polish justice minister summarizes the situation as follows:

The EU does not care at all about the rule of law! It is just an excuse. Brutal economic blackmail is meant to force Poland to accept the EU’s transformation into a federal state run from Brussels, and in practice from Berlin.”

Ziobro also defends the merits of the Polish conservative government’s reform of the judiciary: “All concerns about the Polish judicial system – including the disciplinary chamber – stem from one thing. This one thing is how members of the National Council of the Judiciary, which selects candidates for the judiciary, are elected. Previously, the Council’s judges were selected by the judicial corporation which acted as a state within a state. We have democratized these principles. (…)

So it is not a question of the rule of law. Recently the curtain has been removed, as the new German government has officially announced that its goal is to transform the EU into a single state. In this project, Poland will at most have the status of a region.

(…) Germany is setting a clear target that it is going to impose on others. It has arbitrarily decided that sovereignty must be an attribute of the Union, and not of the states that compose it. The language of the [new coalition’s] program is imperative and the goals set are categorical.”

Zbigniew Ziobro calls for resistance against the German agenda 

Faced with this situation, Ziobro calls on Poland’s leaders to resist with all the means at their disposal: “We want to support a government policy that leads to a way out of this difficult situation. (…)

We have to be tough, because the European Union only understands the language of force”, which means, among other things, “blocking decisions that require unanimity until the EU has fulfilled all its obligations to Poland. We must also prepare for the suspension of Poland’s payments to the EU budget until we receive the funds we are owed.”

When saying this, Zbigniew Ziobro recalled that the British Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, used this tactic in her time to successfully defend the UK’s legitimate interests. However, unlike Poland, which is a net beneficiary of the EU budget, the UK was a net contributor.