BERLIN NEEDS WARSAW

ARTUR STELMASIAK

The visit of Angela Merkel in Warsaw was not easy for her. The times when Warsaw was applauding every suggestion of Berlin has ended

The Polish-German summit meetings were held in a good atmosphere but during every talk, difference of opinions was clearly seen. The chancellor Angela Merkel had to listen to criticisms of EU institutions which had led to the current crisis of the European community.

Despite that, the visit of the chief of the German government may bring expected effects of the cooperation with respecting interests of the both parties. Omen of the change in perceiving Poland governed by the Law and Justice party can be comments in German press, among which positive opinions have been domineering for the first time in the recent several months. ‘Germany cannot communicate with Russia over the heads of Poles and at their cost’ – wrote Stefan Ulrich in ‘Suddedeutsche Zeitung’. – With all disputes with Warsaw, which will surely last long, one thing must be clear: every sign of aggression from Russia against Poland would be aggression against Germany and it would be treated in this way’.

What unites and what divides?

In the first words during a press conference there has already appeared a difference between the attitude of the Polish government and the attitude of Germany. As long as their common purpose is care about the future of the European Union and inhibiting the further process of its collapse, the conception of what this community should be like, however, differs significantly. For Poland it is essential to strengthen national parliaments, so that all EU countries knew that they are treated on equal rules. In the opinion of the prime minister Beata Szydło, changes are necessary and it is seen by all EU countries. – Brexit was caused for various reasons. We must answer the question why it happened so and try to solve the problems in such a way so that such decisions would not be made any more. Poland thinks that we should aim at the development of EU, EU integration , but with respecting, strengthening national countries – said Beata Szydło.

When she touched on the issue of the EU future, chancellor Merkel did not use the phrase ‘the union of two speeds’ but said that there are already differences among membership countries because not all of them belong to the euro sphere and not all of them to the Schengen sphere. – Each membership country should have a possibility to undertake a cooperation on a new field but it cannot happen that there are some exclusive clubs to which others cannot join – Merkel pointed. These words can be understood as a statement that various speeds of the European integration are already a fact. Some countries are of high speed, but onto their own wish and they can always lay claim to belong to this elite club.

Merkel noted that Poland and Germany have the same opinion on EU issues, considering their common market, energetic union, defence or borders protection. In this aspect there appeared an issue important for Poland, concerning another gas pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. – In our talk I emphasized that it is unacceptable to realize the investment of Nord Stream 2 – said Beata Szydło. Although details still remain unknown, it is obvious that during talks chancellor Merkel agreed to concessions of the gas pipeline.

We will not support Tusk

Beside favourable comments on the visit of the chancellor in Poland, in German media there appeared a lot of opinions which diverge from the reality. As much as the Germans were made to believe that the nationalists govern Poland, also now they are scared with the new president of the USA. according to ZDF TV station, Poland needs support of safety from Germany, literally speaking, ‘against the USA which stopped being the force protecting from Russia’.

This problem was commented by president Andrzej Duda. His talk with chancellor Merkel lasted longer, than it had been planned. The issues concerned mainly safety and transatlantic relations. The president noted that it is difficult to evaluate the international policy of Trump for now, as he is beginning to introduce it. – Not following some rules of the common sense, which must be used in politics and diplomacy, is, in my opinion, an astonishing action. Especially in a situation when these are people who represent not only their countries, not only themselves but also other countries – said Andrzej Duda.

An important topic of the meeting behind the closed door, was the situation in Ukraine and economic sanctions towards Russia. Angela Merkel made it very clear that conditions of the agreement from Minsk had not been realized and that was why abolition of sanction was not possible.

In the Polish-German talks there was also the topic of the chairperson of the European Council Donald Tusk. The president of the Law and Justice party said that the attitude of Poland would be neutral. Jarosław Kaczyński declared that we would not support Tusk but there would not be any objection either.

The myth has collapsed

The most important topic of the talks was the future of the European Union after Brexit. It was also the main subject of a talk of the chief of the Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński with chancellor Merkel.

Poles think that Brussels should make a step backward and give more freedom to national parliaments and the European Council. Kaczyński was to suggest that such a post, like the chairperson of the council, is not necessary at all. – We need such changes which will make membership countries become subjects. The concept of two speeds or further centralization of the authority will lead to the collapse of the Union – said the president Kaczyński after the meeting. – I think that chancellor Merkel does not want to finish her career, when looking at the collapse of the community.

The Polish postulates can be defined as a suggestion of a step backward, which – in the opinion of politicians of the Law and Justice party – would maintain anti-EU atmosphere in Europe. – Brexit can be only the top of the iceberg towards what we are going to face in the near future. In Europe anti-EU movements are growing – said prof. Ryszard Legutko, who was accompanying Jarosław Kaczyński in talks.

The chief of the Law and Justice party also demands restriction of competences of the European Commission which has not got a democratic mandate, but it is interfering into the inner policy of membership countries more and more. – It is necessary to change or at least make treaties stricter so that national countries in which the European Commission is building its authority with omitting the letter and spirit of treaty law – added prof. Legutko.

The visit of Angela Merkel in Warsaw sowed moderate optimism among politicians of the governing camp. The crisis in EU, the USA and in the inner policy of Germany forced the chancellor to look for allies in Poland. The Brexit and uncertainty of the future of France after election cause a situation in which Poland becomes a steadfast and a stabile partner. In addition to it, the myth has collapsed which had been aroused by the national opposition and European lounges that Poland is on the margin of the international policy. It turned out that Angela Merkel has met Jarosław Kaczyński another time in the last months. German media began to show Poland and the president Kaczyński in a better light, because they are confused and do not know what to write.

AA

„Niedziela” 08/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • Translation: Aneta Amrozik • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl