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Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker have been threatening Poland

‘On a collision course’ Poland and EU closer to Polexit than EVER BEFORE

POLAND and the European Union have locked horns in a conflict that has made a Polexit scenario closer to reality than ever before.

Via: Sebastian Kettley   

EU Council President Donald Tusk dropped a bombshell revelation yesterday, that the EU did not need Poland to survive and vice versa – just a week after Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to pull the plug on Poland’s voting powers.

Mr Tusk’s comments are just a another step in an escalating conflict of words between the EU and Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), which began when the EU demanded PiS dropped controversial plans to exert more control over its judiciary.

Now according to Rafał Riedel, a professor at the University of Opole and a guest lecturer at Sankt Gallen University, PiS is starting to lay its Eurosceptic cards out on the table.

“The current government are doing a lot in their power to find themselves on a collision course with Brussels, starting with environmentalism all the way up to the procedures that defend democracy,” he explained.

“It is an effect of harking back to nationalistic and sovereign ’nostalgics’ present in parts of Poland’s society, which PiS elevated to power in 2015 and are holding up today at a high level of social support – 35 to 40 per cent.

“Jarosław Kaczyński and his party is evolving from the soft-eurosceptic party it was between 2001 and 2007, into a hard-Eurosceptic one, particularly since 2015.”

Poland has alway nurtured a strong relationship with the EU, being on the receiving end of the bloc’s various funding schemes. In 2015 alone, it received more than £12billion pounds worth of EU money.

Donald Tusk himself held the office of Poland’s prime minister between 2007 and 2014, before abandoning his government to front the European Council.

Poland’s Law and Justice party with leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is escalating the conflict


Professor Riedel argued: “Despite clear declarations from PiS that Poland’s place is in Europe, and that Poland supports the process of European integration, the government’s actions are completely different.“They draw Poland away from the nuclear centre of integration and conflict Poland with Europe’s most important partners and its biggest neighbour and investor – Germany.“It is enough to say that it was no coincidence that the UK chose Poland as a strategic partner in Europe. It is not a coincidence that PiS is in the same EU parliamentary group with the Tories.“What is telling, is the fact that [Hungary’s] Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party are not.”

The concept of Polexit has been recently growing on the fringes of Poland’s mainstream political discourse, even though the majority of the population may still find the concept alien.

Undoubtedly we are closer to [Polexit] than two years ago, when these sort of questions would have been preposterous

Professor Rafał Riedel, University of Opole

A poll conducted for Rzeczpospolita in March overwhelmingly found that 78 per cent of those questioned were in favour of remaining. Then other CBOS poll in April concluded that 88 per cent of the population wanted to stay.However just last night, Environment Minister Jan Szyszko argued that Polexit is “becoming increasingly likely”, in response to Mr Tusk’s thinly veiled threats.“It is hard to predict the future of course,” Professor Riedel argued. “[David] Cameron also declared that all he wanted was to reform the EU and repair EU-UK relations, and then on the following morning after Brexit, it was all over.“Undoubtedly we are closer to this scenario than two years ago, when these sort of questions would have been preposterous.”But at the same time he argues that it is somewhat unfair to compare Poland to the UK due to their inherent social and economic differences.“For Britons the UE was always a “market friendship” sort of relation, whereas for Poland it was a more of a ‘cash-machine’,” he said.

“However for both of them the EU was never a ‘community of shared values’.”

In the end he argued that PiS are building up an “illusory” image of the EU, rife with divisions between the bureaucratic elite and the people, which discourages the public towards the bloc – an “US v THEM” scenario.

He said: “It is building part of its political capital on this disappointment – like any populist party that opposes the elite, by declaring its defence of the ‘common folk’.

“‘WE’ are the ones exploited by Western capital, the constantly berated citizens of of Poland, while ‘THEY’ are the cosmopolitan elites, which exploit the healthy tissue of Poland’s economy and society.

“If we further consider that this populism has authoritarian markers, then the collision is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.”

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