April 14. 2024. 6:02

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Ex-FM: French pension plan push example of Brussels interference

EU institutions have been illegitimately interfering with member state affairs for some time, former Polish foreign minister and MEP Witold Waszczykowski (PiS/ECR) told EURACTIV.pl, citing French President Emmanuel Macron’s push to adopt the controversial pension reform as the most recent example.

Protests and violent clashes with police erupted in France after Macron’s government bypassed parliament last Thursday to adopt its controversial pension reform. Protests continued into the weekend, and since the government only narrowly survived the no-confidence vote Monday, many, including in Poland, now question the government’s legitimacy.

“Those are France’s internal affairs, but to my mind, the protests in France are justified, as what we now observe is an undermining of the democratic decision-making process,” Waszczykowski (PiS/ECR) told EURACTIV.pl.

Also, “at the European level, we are witnessing a ‘Timmermans-isation of law’,” he said, referring to Frans Timmermans’ criticism of the ruling PiS party’s judicial reforms since it came to power in 2015.

Timmermans, now European commissioner for climate action and vice-president of the European Commission, was then commissioner for the rule of law in the Juncker Commission.

For the PiS party, Timmermans embodies the illegitimate interference of EU institutions in internal member-state matters. According to the ruling party, it shows Brussels has been gradually pushing to strip national governments of their competencies.

Macron’s decision to increase the retirement age was “based on ideological calculations”, did not take public opinion into account and “was not a matter of public consultations,” he added.

Contacted by EURACTIV, the Commission did not comment on Waszczykowski’s statement or the situation in France.

The tense situation in France was the reason for the cancellation of a scheduled meeting between the Foreign Ministries of France and Poland, which was supposed to take place in Paris, Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk told public Polish Radio in Monday’s interview.

“When the situation calms down, we will return to the idea of consultations between the ministries,” Poland’s foreign minister said.

Poland wants to continue the dialogue in the format of the Weimar Triangle, which brings together Poland, Germany and France, because “at the moment this is a key format for the future of Europe, also for supporting Ukraine”, Mularczyk also stressed.

However, due to the situation in France, some issues could be postponed, he added.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)