THE YEAR 2013 HAS PASSED
It is the tenth year when Poland has been a member in the European Union – the Union, which is changing. The changes also concerned the year 2013. In its first half, the presidency in the EU Council was held by Ireland, and in its second half – Lithuania. The year 2013 was officially announced by the European Commission as the European Year of Citizens, because it stated that these are citizens who are the most important in the European project. In the year 2013, the French, that is, also citizens of the European Union, were protesting against legalization of the so-called marriages of the same sex and adoption of children by homosexual couples. In Paris there was also a pro-life and pro-family march. Last year citizens of the European Union collected nearly 2 million signatures under the European Civilian Initiative ‘One of us’, whose purpose was defend the human life from the conception and prohibition of doing experiments on human embryos and they submitted these signatures to the European Commission. In 2014 the Commission must organize a public hearing about this matter in the European Parliament. There appears hope for life defence. It had been the first time during many years when it started have its realistic basis. As far as provisions concerning killing conceived babies had been outvoted in resolutions accepted by the EU so far, so we have been observing the change of this trend recently. It was enforced not only by Christian euro-deputies but, first of all, by pressures of outraged citizens of 28 countries of the European Union. During the last session of the European Parliament in Strasburg in December, for the first time leftist-liberal groups, with their attitude against life, had a spectacular defeat. A report, prepared for a long time, concerning ‘reproductive and sexual health and rights in this sphere’ whose rapporteur was a socialist Edite Estrela, was rejected, that is, thrown away into a bin. This report included provisions calling membership countries ‘to refrain themselves from hindering pregnant women who are determined to have abortion to travel to other membership countries or other countries where abortion is legal’.
It was also recommended that the high-quality abortion services should be ‘legal, safe and accessible for everybody within of health care systems of membership countries’. In order to block this report, our Group of European Conservatives and Reformers with the Christian Democrats submitted a short three-point resolution to the European Parliament, in which we notice, among the others, that ‘definition and realization of policy in the sphere of reproductive health belong to the competence of membership countries’. We managed to block the report aimed against the conceived life and the voting was attended by about 700 MPs. Among them there were also newly-accepted Croatian euro-deputies. In July 2013 there was another moment of broadening the European Union, which was joined by Croatia. Last December, that is, 5 months after the accession of Croatia, a nationwide referendum was organized there which was aimed against the so-called homo-marriages. The Croatians as citizens of the Union felt to be in a danger and wanted to add a definition of marriage as a relation between a woman and a man to their constitution. The referendum was finished with a success. To the astonishment of many EU politicians, 66 per cent of voters were for including this sentence in the basic law. What is peculiar, also 66 per cent of the Croatians had voted for accession to the Union earlier, with only a slightly higher attendance.
Last year was full of many important meetings in the European Parliament, which were attended by many important people. In September I organized a EP exhibition concerning geothermal sources, especially of geothermal of Toruń. The exhibition in Brussels was visited by Fr. dr. Tadeusz Rydzyk, a director of the Radio Maria and an animator of the geothermal project. Before that, I had invited a delegation of the Catholic Weekly ‘Niedziela’ to the European Parliament, which was represented by Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś.
The year 2013 in the European Parliament was dominated by a budget debate. In February during a summit meeting of the European Council, leaders of EU countries accepted a seven-year budget of the Union for the years 2014-20. A month later, in March, the European Parliament, accepting an appropriate resolution, rejected an agreement in this matter. It was the beginning of scuffles, and the argument concerned the previous patching the budget gap of last year amounting to over 11 milliard euro. After difficult negotiations, membership countries, including Poland, decided to contribute to reduce the deficit. Poland agreed to pay extra 300 million euro. In November the EP acknowledged the Long-term Financial Frames. According to estimations of the Polish government Poland may receive about 106 million euro during seven years. However, our enormous fee as well as unused funds should be deducted from it. In the finishing financial perspective Poland received 5 milliard euro for railway modernization. Unfortunately, it has used about 17 per cent so far. We had time till the end of December and it is already clear that an enormous amount will be lost, probably 3-4 milliard euro. The EU funds which come, in fact, from our fees, should be spent in a reasonable way. In November 2013 the European Financial Tribunal announced a report which stated that about 5 per cent of means from the last year budget of the Union were spent inappropriately. The European Commission seems not to worry about it. It is still creating such ‘essential’ European project for all of us as, for example, the instructions of flushing toilets and urinals. It is a new matter which has not been rewarded by the chapter of a contest organized by me about the biggest legal absurd of the EU. Last year the first place was granted to an event which was observed in the European Parliament. During the first voting in the Legal Commission of the European Parliament on the exception in copyright it turned out that the attendance was 113 per cent of the euro-deputies. Also the EU instruction of going down a ladder was rewarded as well as multi-page instruction of using wellingtons. We rewarded an announcement of the European Commission of a tender for a scientific project whose purpose is eating insects, among the others, grasshoppers, locust, whose official purpose was testing all aspects of using insects as a potential source of food. The Commission intended to assign 3 million euro for this project.
Unfortunately, the activity of the European Commission, intending to stop unemployment, finished with a failure. According to the Eurostat unemployment in the EU increased approximately to 12 per cent last year, and it was the highest in the countries which had accepted the euro currency. In some southern countries of the Union, unemployment among young people was over 50 per cent. In Poland in 2013 the highest level of emigration was registered in Poland. According to the data of the Main Statistics Office, over 2 million people had emigrated from Poland.
In the end of the year 2013, in the foreground there appeared the issue of Ukraine, which had not signed an association agreement with the European Union. It was a resultant of the policy of not only the whole Union, but, first of all, its main leader, the Federal Republic of Germany and the chancellor Angela Merkel. In Germany a new office was established on the basis of a big coalition which was deciding about the European-wide policy, apart from nationwide matters of Germany. There was a similar agreement about staffing of the post of the chief of the European Commission. The new year will show what place Poland will have in this policy.
According to the Polish proverb: ‘When a New Year has just come, everyone becomes a great enthusiasm fan’ – in the New Year – 2014 I wish all Readers of the Catholic weekly ‘Niedziela’ God’s blessing, health, hope and success, and the proverbial willingness for further care about the common welfare in Poland, Europe and in the world.