February 21. 2024. 8:37

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Polish PM opposes an EU federation, slams Brussels

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki laid out his vision for the future of Europe in a speech at Heidelberg University, Germany, highlighting the role of sovereign nation-states against a European federation.

The conservative Polish government has been on the frontline in support of Ukraine against Russia and has always been pro-NATO. But when it comes to Europe’s integration process, it has expressed doubts over deepening EU institutions.

Morawiecki (PiS/ECR) gave his speech in the presence of Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens), where he highlighted the role of sovereign nation-states in “maintaining the freedom of nations.”

“Nothing will safeguard the freedom of nations, their culture, their social, economic, political and military security better than nation states,” Morawiecki said, adding that “other systems are illusory or utopia,” warning of a further federalisation of the EU.

The alternatives to a Europe of sovereign nation-states would be a “technocratic utopia, which some in Brussels seem to envision” or a “neo-imperialism”, the Polish prime minister said.

Morawiecki’s speech ties in with other speeches about the EU’s future recently given by other EU leaders, such German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Prague in August 2022 and French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for the EU in a Sorbonne speech at the start of his first mandate in 2017.

In his Prague address, Scholz (SPD/S&D) said that EU treaties were not “set in stone” and that EU enlargement should come with reform.

Germany is pushing to give up the principle of unanimity voting in matters of foreign affairs and tax policy – something that was even made a condition for Berlin to agree to the accession of new member states but which is met with particular resistance from Poland.

“If the individual nations of the European Union seek to dominate others, Europe may fall prey to the same mistakes of the past,” Morawiecki warned in Heidelberg, saying that his “pro-Europeanism” would be expressed by his support for EU enlargement, not further centralisation.

In his speech, Morawiecki also harshly criticised the European Commission, which recently announced it would sue Poland over two Constitutional Tribunal rulings the Commission says challenges the primacy of EU law principle.

“Smacking others with the whip of ‘European values’ without agreeing on their definition or understanding what changes must be made by particular countries is […] self-destructive for the European Union,“ Morawiecki said.

“Do we really want a pan-European cosmopolitan elite with immense power but without an electoral mandate?” he asked.

In his speech, Morawiecki reiterated Poland’s demand for World War II reparations from Germany.

“I do not want to dwell on this issue in my speech, but I cannot overlook it,” said Morawiecki.

“Poland never received reparation from Germany for the crimes of World War II, for the destruction, stolen property and treasures of national culture,” he added.

“Compensation is needed to reconcile perpetrators and victims. At this crucial moment in the history of Europe, we need such a reconciliation because we face huge common challenges,” he said.

The German government said in previous statements that it does not see any legal basis for Poland’s reparations claim and considers the matter closed.

(Jonathan Packroff | EURACTIV.de)