European Union Waging ‘Policy of Harassment’ Against Conservative Poland, Says Foreign Minister

GRZEGORZ JAKUBOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
GRZEGORZ JAKUBOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski has accused the European Union (EU) of “discriminating against Poland” and conducting a “policy of harassment” towards it, following clashes over migrant quotas, judicial reform, and even the national retirement age.

“Regrettably, we conclude that in our view the European Commission does not show willingness to conduct dialogue of a legal nature,” he said, according to a report by Radio Poland.

Dr. Waszczykowki said the bloc’s complaints against his country concerning such esoteric matters as logging and plans to allow men to retire at 65 and women at 60 from October — denounced as “gender discrimination” — are a smokescreen, and possibly part of a wider plot to “weaken” the position of Poland within the bloc.

The 60-year-old suggested his time would be more productively spent in discussing pressing issues such as security, energy independence, and the impact of Brexit with his European counterparts, rather than haggling with EU First Vice-President Frans Timmermans over domestic matters.

Poland’s biggest clashes with the European Union, like its Visegrád neighbours in Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, have been over the question of migrant quotas.

Following a Qualified Majority Vote in the European Council, the bloc is attempting to force all member-states to accept a share of the migrants who have arrived on the continent since German Chancellor Angela Merkel extended an open invitation to them in 2015 — leaving Greece and Italy desperately overburdened once pro-mass immigration governments in Western and Northern Europe began to change their minds.

Poland has followed Hungary’s lead in resisting these quotas, with the chairman of the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) saying: “No one will impose a social catastrophe on us just because we are receiving EU funds.”

Poland has also clashed with the bloc over its attempts to reform the judiciary, with the country’s equivalent of the Supreme Court being packed with judges chosen by the EU loyalist Civic Platform Party (PO) shortly before Law and Justice was swept into office in a landslide election victory.

The current government believes the judiciary is still in thrall to Communist-era holdovers, and that whilst it remains only answerable to itself — rather than the Polish legislature — there are inadequate checks and balances between the three major branches of government.

Brussels is attempting to stop these domestic reforms, arguing that they represent an attack on the rule of law — but critics say they are in selective interference because the Polish government is broadly Eurosceptic.

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