Some observers consider that the intervention of the head of the Polish government in Brussels, during the summit, was a little less belligerent than the previous attack on the European Union, in the European Parliament. But these are only diplomatic subtleties, while Mateusz Morawiecki continues to defend the political principle that Polish law must be above EU law, at the behest of the Warsaw government.
The whole Polish argument that the country has never agreed to cede so much sovereignty to the EU, as the European Court of Justice claims, is an example of false news. Recall that in 2007, after many disputes, Poland signed the Treaty of Lisbon, a document that forms the basis of today’s European Union negotiations.
It is true that the then president, Lech Kaczynski, dreamed of a different EU, a pure economic union, which would have been just a machine for distributing money between nation states. Now his brother Jaroslaw, the leader of the PiS party and the one pulling the strings in Warsaw, is trying to take up this idea again. However, it did not enjoy a majority in Europe at that time. Nothing has changed.
Barbara Wesel, DW
So, the Polish government, backed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as Trump, is trying to storm the interior European walls, hitting them with a demolition ball.
This is not about defending Polish law against Brussels’ interference. In almost all areas of everyday life, from criminal law to taxes, health, education or public administration, EU Member States are more autonomous than ever. This is true for Poland, as well as for Italy or Denmark.
Poland wants a different kind of state
The European Court of Justice only comes into play when democratic principles are at stake, in cases concerning the principle of equality for all EU citizens, for example in the case of the LGBTQ community. In this case, too, the ECJ has already ruled against Poland.
Or it may be the fundamental democratic principle, according to which the judiciary must be free and independent. And the dispute with Warsaw over the systematic entanglement of independent lawyers with supporters of the PiS party has been going on for years.
Undoubtedly, the state structure that the Polish government is considering is no longer a democracy according to European norms. We are dealing with an evolution indicating a type of controlled government, with autocratic features. Thus, first independent justice is abolished, then the free press and, finally, civil society is put on the wall.
In the end, the election only confirms the ruling clique. Putin’s Russia is a testament to what such a system looks like.
Even today, Poland would not meet some of the criteria for admission to the EU. And such an authoritarian regime, as Kaczynski and his relatives are currently trying to establish, would have nothing to look for in the EU.
The other Member States made an impermissible mistake when they stood idly by while Viktor Orban showed other Eastern Europeans how a democracy can be dismantled and replaced by an authoritarian kleptocratic regime.
Stop an even greater destruction of Europe
The seat of the Constitutional Court in Poland
However, in the case of Poland, Europeans must radically put an end to this development. This country is too big and too important strategically. When the British left the EU, things were clear: they terminated their membership and, after a long period of disputes, were taken away.
But the Warsaw government is trying to shake the fortress from within, and the power to divide this action is much more intense. Dutchman Mark Rutte and others acknowledge the situation and announce the end of patience with the Polish rebels.
Perhaps the Merkel method, based on an endless dialogue with even the most recalcitrant Member States, must disappear once the Chancellor retires. The Czech Andrej Babis has just lost the election, and the Slovenian Janez Jansa could follow him – the new autocracies in Eastern Europe are not necessarily a successful model.
If Poland no longer wants to play by the rules, its only option is to leave. Otherwise, the old idea of a European core will have to be reconsidered. And Warsaw could be among the two associated states.
In any case, the EU must repel the Polish attack with all its might even if it uses financial sanctions to do so. Why should at least one German or Dutch taxpayer finance Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s autocracy? Brussels must stop it now.