EU integration not at cost of independence: Polish PM

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki speaking in the European Parliament. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday appealed for a Europe of equal nations states rather than European integration at the cost of independent states.

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The Polish Prime Minister addressed the European Parliament to present the government’s vision on the future of the EU. He used the opportunity to defend the concept of a “Europe of nation states.” He also argued that the economic and social reforms introduced by the current government put Poland in the European mainstream and should be used as an example for others to follow.

The PM reminded MEPs that: “Europeans who have voiced concerns about integration are not marginal.”

Instead of “despairing about populism,” Europe should “renew the social contract with its people” and concentrate on “security and prosperity.”

“Europe is experiencing a democratic awakening which shows that we must renew the social contract which lead to the success of the post-war integration,” PM Morawiecki said.

“This contract was built on a feeling of security and on economic policy which offered prosperity for all. Today we must annex this contract by giving back the feeling of security and hope that our children will have enjoy a better life. This is the only way of rebuilding trust in the European project”.

Poland ‘an example for Europe to follow’

The Prime Minister’s vision of Europe’s future was intertwined with his promotion of the measures which the current Law and Justice government has introduced in Poland since winning the 2015 general elections.

He stated that Europe should balance the need for further integration of the European Single Market with much greater attention paid to reducing inequality.

He highlighted how Poland has shown this could be achieved, and alluded to one of the reasons for the judicial system reforms which have been questioned in the EU.

“Tightening up the tax system has been the elephant in the room here. Poland has managed to achieve this, despite problems with its judiciary who have been lenient on offenders.”

The tightening up of the tax system has generated extra income for the budget which the government was able to spend on social programs, such as the universal child benefit that has reduced inequality in Poland.

Alliance with the US ‘essential’

PM Morawiecki nailed his colors firmly to the mast of Euro-Atlanticist, declaring it as the basis for European security in the face of Russian aggression. He insisted that “unity first and foremost” with the US is essential for European security.

He praised the US for all that it did to assist Europe during both world wars, for how it defended Europe from the USSR and argued that Europe needed to address American concerns about the level of European spending on defence.

Polish-US relations are among the best bilateral ties in the EU with the ruling party often allying itself with the White House under Donald Trump on several global issues. Warsaw was Donald Trump’s first European destination after he won the presidential elections in 2016.

Poland’s version of European sovereignty

The Polish PM argued that the EU should not be built at the cost of the independence of member states and that the EU should give “added value” in collective action and security rather than to becoming a substitute for them and that European integration “must always be based on cooperation” as “it was not an objective in itself.”