The President of the European Council is afraid that the conservative Law and Justice Party government in his native Poland is pursuing an exit from the European Union.
“I have no doubt that for [Law and Justice] one of the goals is to ‘free’ Polish politics from the burden of the EU,” claimed Donald Tusk, who gave up his position as Polish prime minister for his much more lucrative EU position shortly before Law and Justice drove his Civic Platform Party (PO) out of office in a landslide election victory.
Tusk, who infamously claimed that Brexit could lead to “the destruction of not only the EU but also of Western political civilisation in its entirety” during Britain’s EU referendum, has become a divisive figure in his native country, which did not put him forward for reappointment as EU president in 2017 but, in a bizarre twist, was overruled by other EU governments led by Germany.
He has, consequently, been branded a tool of Germany and “Europe’s left-liberal elite” by Warsaw.
President of the EU Council @donaldtusk branded a tool of Germany and “Europe's left-liberal elite” after astonishing attack on Poland's conservative government. His role as an honest broker between EU member-states surely untenable? https://t.co/T1vuQoW65E
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) November 20, 2017
“I can easily imagine a situation when Poland finds itself among the net payers [to the EU budget],” Tusk continued. “Then the government in Poland would feel it was time to ask Poles if they wanted Poland to continue in the EU.”
He also made the incendiary claim that “Almost everything [Law and Justice] proposes in key political issues matches the publicly formulated and described interests and expectations of Moscow,” adding: “I could name a lot of cases in which PiS and Moscow have similar views and goals.”
The accusation serves to provoke Law and Justice chairman Jarosław Kaczyński, widely understood to hold Moscow responsible for the 2010 plane crash which killed his twin brother, then-president Lech Kaczyński — a matter he has pursued doggedly up to the present day.
Poland and Hungary Unite Against Eurocrats: ‘We Don’t Want to Live in an Empire’ 🇺🇵🇱 https://t.co/gLF0dPHbAA
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) January 4, 2018
Despite his purpose as President of the European Council being to act as an honest broker between EU governments, this is not the first time Tusk has openly attacked Poland’s elected government.
“Alarm!” he tweeted excitably in November 2017. “Bitter dispute with Ukraine, isolation within the European Union, departure from the rule of law and independent courts, attacks on the NGO sector and free media — the strategy of [Poland’s government] or a Kremlin plan? Too similar to sleep peacefully.”
The Polish government, for its part, has not endorsed an EU exit at this stage — but has defied the bloc’s attempts to impose compulsory migrant quotas on Poland, and is resisting its attempts to interfere in domestic judicial reforms which it believes are necessary to undo a corrupt and nepotistic system devised by the old Communist regime.
Their position was articulated most clearly at a Poland-Hungary summit in January 2018, when the countries’ prime ministers vowed to protect one another from the Brussels establishment.
“We don’t want to live in an empire. For us, the European Union is still the alliance of free European nations,” declared Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.