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