The Polish rebellion and the future of the European Union

The scandal connected with the election of Donald Tusk to head the European Council for the new tridtsatiletnej period contrary to the position of Poland itself, put an end to political correctness and the understanding of consensus as an independent and very important values of European integration. The rejection of the consensus was the position of both parties – Warsaw and Berlin. In Poland expected that the result of the confrontation is Donald Tusk and the alternative candidates Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is found, a third candidate from any other country of the European Union. The motives of Jaroslaw Kaczynski in this story we should not look for only in the political competition or a desire for personal revenge. The reasons for the move of Warsaw’s much wider, and in General the dispute was not only about the candidacy of Donald Tusk, but about the future of Europe, in which Poland was not the role corresponding to its ambitions. The article is published in the framework of Partnerstva with the Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC).

The dispute about the future of Europe

In response to the re-election of Donald Tusk, Poland has blocked the final Declaration of the summit. The loss was declared a victory, and European bureaucrats from Brussels – backed into a corner. In this situation, with a fair share of fantasy and a good promotion of the Polish government can derive only one benefit – the inevitable future tough policy of the European Council can be attributed to the desire of Donald Tusk for personal revenge, which would harm the entire country. For such a policy is already sufficient grounds, the European Council is the key structure through which it is possible to impose on Poland European sanctions.

The previous elections of the head of the European Commission and head of the Council of Europe took place in 2014 in a less controversial atmosphere, but a further crisis, the EU was partly related to the fact that Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk was nominated for their current positions to bypass any approvals from the United Kingdom that spawned a sharp reaction of Prime Minister David Cameron, the revival of discussions on withdrawal from the EU, and ultimately ended with a well-known referendum. The decision on the re-election of Donald Tusk, as well as about the agenda and outlined the solutions to the anniversary of the Rome summit was also taken behind the scenes.

It was not a repetition of the error was no error at all – participation in the development of course, the EU can now only accept loyal German in the country and politics.

Shortly before the summit in Brussels, on March 6, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the Prime Ministers of Spain and Italy Marian Rajoy and Paolo Gentiloni held a meeting in Versailles, which supported the concept of different speeds in further European integration. According to leaders of the «big four», this will allow some members to pursue a more rapid integration in selected areas. The concept of a Europe of different speeds was born in the mid-1970s and proposed the so-called «Federalists» as a solution that can provide higher speed of integration.

A decade ago, with the filing of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair actively talking about it again, but as a concept designed to slow down the development of European integration.

A number of EU countries are ready to form an elite club within the EU and to abandon the old liberalism in the decision-making process

  And solutions in the coming years a lot is the question of a European army (in fact, until it is about changing the logic of interaction and ensure the possibility of joint actions in circumvention of the mechanisms of NATO), and the change in migration policy. «We are talking about how to go faster in a circle of some countries, not excluding others, but so that others are unable to resist,» explained the French President. As examples of closer integration of the group of countries he called the defence, the Euro area, the harmonization of the tax and social sphere, culture and youth Affairs. The summit in Versailles and the subsequent next day a meeting of heads of parliaments of the Visegrad countries in Warsaw are actually personified the schism between old and new Europe.

The new political situation in the EU was shown at the Brussels summit. In strong irritation Francois Hollande said Polish Prime Minister directly: «do you Have an opinion, and we have the funds.» B. Szydlo retorted that she would not take threats from leader with such low ratings and the outcome of the presidency. Poland needs to 106 billion euros of EU funding in the current budget period from 2014 to 2020 recently on the reduction of the subsidies of the Polish economy in Europe speak more often, and the impending British exit from the EU threatens to leave gaps in the European budget, and therefore makes the cut is almost inevitable. A number of European politicians have already indicated their dissatisfaction with the existing system of subsidies and it is highly hinted at in Poland. In a similar tone expressed and candidate for Chancellor of Germany Martin Schulz.

An alternative plan of Warsaw
The Polish demarche in Brussels once again revealed the already known problems of the European Union.

First and foremost is the lack of democracy and lack of leadership. By themselves, they are for the European integration is not fatal, but dangerous combination leading to collapse of negotiability. Key decisions are made by a complex of multilateral agreements and opaque compromises. It’s not even that their character does not allow the publicity, and that the existing formal mechanisms for making decisions do not work effectively. It kompensiruet informal procedures, backroom negotiations where publicity becomes unnecessary and can derail a compromise. However, the biggest challenge is that the struggle for democracy as a fight for the lead, almost inevitably, threatens to turn into the disorganization and internal conflicts in the EU.

Another clash with the Brussels bureaucracy was expected at the jubilee the Rome summit on March 25. The Polish Prime Minister said yesterday that the decisions of the summit to determine the future of the Union, and the impact it should have all of its members. However, the sensation did not happen, and only for a few seconds created the intrigue of the delay with which Beata Szydlo has signed the final conclusion of the summit.

In Poland the concept of a Europe of different speeds immediately called the negation of the idea of European Union, although before she was quite impressed by politicians «Law and Justice». A month ago at a closed meeting with German journalists Beata Szydlo said he has nothing against, if the establishment of the EU of different speeds will not threaten the common market. But the problem probably lies in the fact that the partners do not see Poland in the elite club of countries taking key decisions on the future of Europe.

A justified reproach the current system is that senior functionaries of the EU is not democratically elected, but preside over the destinies of millions of Europeans and had a certain power over national governments and legislators.

Poland has a vision of the future of Europe. The question of how should democratization occur, remains open, but the principle of unanimous decisions (the so-called Luxembourg compromise [1]), which referred to Poland when re-elected Donald Tusk, progress in this direction is unlikely to contribute to overall already experienced as a stage. However, the «incident Tusk» has created a serious precedent for the nomination of candidate for the top European post without the approval of the country of origin that will sure to alert the politicians of other European countries. According to the Polish side, the rules need to provide for the impossibility of such a nomination. It is unlikely the Polish requirements are met, but the European politicians are forced to admit the necessity of improving the procedure for election and appointment to key posts in the EU.

The second Polish postulate is to strengthen the role of governments and national parliaments in the EU.

This idea for a long time voiced by Chairman of «Law and Justice» Jaroslaw Kaczynski, claiming that the only way to increase democratic control in the EU. While the Commission should not engage in politics [2]. The embodiment of this approach to life will mean for the EU a big step back and weakness of the organization.

A third is the need to change agreements on migration

First of all, the Schengen agreement and the Dublin agreement on refugees. Poland in General is configured for the audit of the basic documents, but have not yet put forward specific proposals.

One is a warrior

March demarche against Donald Tusk was partly a test was designed to find possible points of support on the case, if Warsaw decides to continue the confrontation. None of the European politicians openly sided with the Polish authorities, but there is reason to believe that the latent solidarity with Warsaw in their environment was. Hardly Polish Prime Minister greatly embellished reality when he said after extending the powers of Donald Tusk, the leaders of the EU remained «a feeling that something is wrong», «broken rules» that «deepened the gaps».

The dispute about the future of Europe and the place of Poland it has turned into a conflict between Berlin and Warsaw.

In the conflict with Berlin and Brussels, Poland was seeking the direct support of the Visegrad countries, but did not receive even indirect. Special hopes were pinned on Budapest. A set of similar problems and the constant criticism from Brussels and other European capitals that unites the country, but the interests of Hungary as a whole is very strong, often diametrically different from Polish. And of course in Budapest was not prepared to increase the list of their own problems for the sake of solidarity with Warsaw. Hungarian diplomacy has repeatedly made it clear that it is not ready to oppose the candidature of Donald Tusk. However, the Hungarian «apostasy» was the most morally painful for the Polish leadership. So much so that the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs Yang Jezisek canceled a visit to Budapest . He had to take part in celebrations on the occasion of the national holiday of Hungary (March 15, marks the anniversary of the start of the uprising in 1848), but was prevented by «a significant and sudden cases», as followed from the letter of the Polish Embassy to the organizers.

In Poland and other Visegrad countries have different views on the regional cooperation. In Warsaw still see their country’s role in regional leadership and for the sake of maintaining harmony is ready to accept the special position of the neighbors on many issues. For example, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said recently, referring to the policy of Victor Orban that he sees nothing wrong with good relations of Hungary with Russia. In turn the rest of the Visegrad countries, the prevailing view is that cooperation is a good option to address a number of issues on an ad hoc basis, but no more. These were the issues of redistribution of migrants within the EU, the Visegrad television projects, military units of the Visegrad group and the joint consulates. Some issues, such as the distribution of EU subsidies, countries in the region are the natural competitors to each other.

European card in domestic politics

The management of «Law and Justice», apparently, is not going to abandon plans for discrediting the former Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, cleaning up the state apparatus from the people who came with him in power, and further changes of the state system. Donald Tusk already called in for regular questioning in connection with the investigation of the secret contacts of former heads of Service of the military counterintelligence and the FSB. Opponents of the former Prime Minister accuse him of collusion with Moscow and suppressing the truth about the Smolensk tragedy, and that now, being the President of the European Council, it is the policy solely in the interests of Berlin. However, even those who in the last parliamentary elections did not vote for «Civil platform» mainly positive assessments of his actions in the current post [3]. However, few would like, according to the same survey, to the end of their authority in Brussels, Donald Tusk returned to Poland’s policy. Wishing were only 12% [3]. However, sociological data are not always credible, and the largest centre for sociological analysis CBOS stopped to turn Donald Tusk in the rankings of Polish politicians [4]. To assess the prospects of Donald Tusk is quite difficult though, because judging from the dynamics, in the next 30 months in public opinion there will be tremendous changes.

The part of the centrists and the left are pinning their hopes on a Ryszard Petru, a leader of the party «Modern». Based on his public rhetoric, are the European values promoting partnership and deepening integration. He was able to play the European card, raising concern for the future of Poland in the EU. Calling their and not only their supporters to the rally, the candidate of the opposition leaders said that the society should not allow the current leadership of Poland to take the country out of the EU. The opposition rally was not an accident appointed for March 25 – the day of the anniversary of the Rome summit. Thousands of poles took to the streets under the slogan «Love you, Europe.»

However, in addition to demonstrative gestures and rhetorical techniques of the opposition has no practical means to influence the policy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the EU.

It is obvious that the opposition is exploiting the common opinion of the euroscepticism of the Polish authorities, and even coined the neologism «Polexit» by analogy with the British. The probability that the issue of withdrawal of Poland from the EU, even just will be raised at the official level, almost zero, but there are similarities in the situation in the UK and Poland. It’s the German dictatorship in Europe and the manipulation of shared institutions, as well as the disagreement of these two countries with their actual status in the EU. At the same time they are United by a close Alliance with the United States, who are more than loyal to the British plans to leave the EU and generally welcome any confusion and vacillation in the Union. Synchronization of the Polish American policy is not new and depends a little on which political force is in power. Poland was a difficult partner in the EU during the administration of George Bush, but dramatically changed the course and tone of the rhetoric since the beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama, who has relied on normalization before damaged relations with European powers and strengthen Atlantic solidarity. Now relations between the US and leading EU countries are in a very difficult position, the level of trust is extremely low and scandalous intonation becomes more and more, until the application knows a lot about good joke Jean-Claude Juncker about the willingness of Europeans to support the withdrawal of Texas from the United States.

Thus, it does not make sense to talk seriously about eurosceptic Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his entourage who hold typical for Polish politicians opportunistic, but predictable line.

  • The name comes from an inmate in 1966, of the agreement relating to voting in the European Council and stating that questions relating to important interests of member countries should be resolved unanimously. Formally, this situation is not reversed, but in the Lisbon treatise stated that the head of the European Council elected by qualified majority. On the application of the Luxembourg compromise insisted David Cameron in 2014, when he opposed the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker to head the European Commission, but never achieved. It would be strange to expect that Poland in this way would be more successful.
  • The Prime Minister said Poland Beate Szydlo in the presence of the author in September 2016 during a speech at the economic forum in Krynica-zdrój.
  • According to recent opinion polls (CBOS — Fundacja Centrum Studies Opinii Społecznej), the results of which were published on the eve of the vote for the extension of his powers, 49% of respondents positively assess his activity as President of the European Council, and are critical of only 32 %. Nevertheless, widespread criticism plays a role, and only 41% of respondents believe that Donald Tusk defends the interests of Poland in the EU, whereas 40 % believe that he does not. Even more modestly, poll participants to determine its impact in the EU, 38% are sure that it is large enough, while 42% believe that the substantial effect it has.
  • We are talking about the most recent sociological research by CBOS, according to which the greatest respect among the population of Polish politicians is the President Andrzej Duda, followed by the Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, and closes the top three of the controversial politician Paul Cookies. These data contrast sharply with the majority opinion of experts and personal analysis of the author.


  • The Polish rebellion and the future of the European Union 20.04.2017

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