Law and Justice MEPs: EU Parliament blocked Polish hero exhibition

Józef Piłsudski. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The European Parliament has blocked an exhibition in Strasbourg devoted to Poland's inter-war independence hero Józef Piłsudski, MEPs of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party announced on Tuesday.

The exhibition had been organised by Poland's Permanent Representation to the EU in cooperation with the Polish delegation of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.

An organized by the Polish Representation exhibition devoted to Pope Saint John Paul II was inaugurated at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. It was supposed to be accompanied by an exhibition on Józef Piłsudski.

PiS MEP Ryszard Legutko claimed at the opening of the John Paul II exhibition that the Piłsudski exhibition had been "blocked by the EP for unclear reasons." He added that he intends to intervene over the issue at Wednesday's plenary sitting of the EP.

Another PiS MEP Karol Karski explained to PAP that the decision concerning the exhibition had been taken due to objections from British Liberal MEP Catherine Bearder on the grounds that the appropriate documents had not been submitted.

"It looks as though that was a pretext, and it was wrong, because all the documents were delivered," Karski argued.

In turn, Ryszard Czarnecki described the situation as "scandalous." "The question is whether EP President Antonio Tajani knows about it," he declared.

"It's not the first time such a situation has occurred. (...) To my knowledge, it's the fourth exhibition organised by Polish MEPs censored by the EP," he stated, going on to list exhibitions on the protection of life from conception, the Smolensk air disaster and Chechnya.

EP spokeswoman Marjory van den Broeke explained in a communique sent to PAP that the application to hold the exhibition had arrived on Friday and should have been presented two months in advance. However, she stressed, because the request had been submitted in connection with a visit to the EP by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the parliament's administration had taken efforts to ensure that at least part of the exhibition opened. "The second can also be opened, but at a later date," she said.

Józef Piłsudski was a Polish statesman and a distinguished figure on the international scene. He fought in the First World War for the independent Poland and is viewed as one of the “fathers” of regaining independence by Poland in 1918.