God, nation but no Euro, says former Civic Platform leader

Jan Rokita, former head of the Civic Platform (PO) Parliamentary caucus sees the EU as being at a crossroads and in deep crisis.

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Jan Rokita is one of the PO’s best known former politicians. He was a senior minister at the tender age of 33 and became one of Poland’s best known politicians. He lead one of the parties that made up the ruling Solidarity Election Action (AWS) in the late 90s and then became a senior politician in the PO. During the 2005 general election he was the party’s PM designate.

Exiting the political stage

Mr Rokita left Polish politics in 2007. Officially the reason was that his wife Nelly Rokita decided to stand for the then ruling Law and Justice (PiS) and he felt that this represented a conflict of interests which could not be squared. But in reality his relationship with the leader of his party Donald Tusk had broken down as the party began its move towards the centre and away from conservative views represented by Jan Rokita.

Teacher and opinion former

These days Jan Rokita teaches students at a Polish university and writes opinion and analysis pieces for a number of newspapers and weeklies. In one of those (“Wszystko co Najważniejsze”) titled “God, Nation and the Euro” he argues that the EU after the last set of European elections stands at a crossroads. He feels that the EU could even be disbanded and observes a process in which “year after year, to an increasing degree, the EU is becoming unbearable for an ever-increasing number of circles and groups of Europeans.”

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Euro-enthusiasts feeding anti-EU feelings

The increasing hostility to the EU and its works has, in Mr Rokita’s opinion, led its fervent advocates to adopt increasingly confrontational postures. This is evidenced by the way the Euro crisis has been handled leading to the alienation of millions in southern Europe. And yet those seeking closer integration have responded by attempting to create a single budget for the whole of the eurozone and attempting to put pressure on all member states to join it. This, argues Rokita, could end in the cessation of Central Europe from the EU.

Similarly, he sees the way the EU elites have handled the migration crisis. A crisis which has, in his mind, led to a “fashion for nationalism” in defence of identity and demands for bringing back borders. The reaction to this crisis of staunch European integrationists is to argue against national sovereignty and for the existence of a mythical European polity.

The integrationists have also managed to irritate religious communities by accentuating LGBT and feminist movements and by actions which are seen as discriminatory against Christians, such as the removal of Chirstian symbols from public spaces. This in turn, argues Jan Rokita, has led to Chistrian leaning voters to back nationalist and fundametalist groups.

Mr Rokita says he agrees with Viktor Orban that millions of Europeans are rebelling against a “post-national and post-religious Europe”. This, he feels, is feeding support for far right parties and making many Europeans sympathetic to the politics of Mr Putin because of its emphasis on the nation state and religion.

God, nation but not the Euro

Jan Rokita advises the EU to “accept the re-merging national identities and to use it in order to legitimise and reform European institutions.” He also recommends that the EU should stop “excluding” people with strong Christian views and to abandon the Euroland project which he fears could tear the EU apart during the next serious economic crisis.

Music to the ruling party’s ears

Mr Rokita’s conservative views are now music to the ears of the present ruling Law and Justice (PiS). Like Mr Rokita the Polish government is arguing for a Europe of sovereign nation states, controls on migration, respect for Christian values and in no hurry whatsoever to adopt the Euro as Poland’s currency.