Official: Poland needs less trust in EU, bolder policy

AP News
Posted: Mar 11, 2017 2:11 PM
Official: Poland needs less trust in EU, bolder policy

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland needs to have less confidence in the European Union and make its policy more aggressive, the foreign minister said Saturday.

Witold Waszczykowski said, however, that Poland wants to remain in the EU, which it joined in 2004.

He was quoted by the Super Express tabloid Saturday, following an EU summit that was marked by Poland's ire over the re-election of Donald Tusk, a Pole, to the prestigious job of EU Council head.

Warsaw protested against Tusk because of Poland's internal politics. Tusk, a former prime minister, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful leader of Poland's currently ruling nationalist party, are bitter political foes. They also differ on the EU, as Kaczynski is critical of the way the 28-nation bloc functions and urges fundamental reforms. The summit spat seemed to serve Kaczynski's purpose.

Waszczykowski said EU policy at the summit was of "double standards and deceptions." He insisted Poland had hoped for understanding and support, but got none. Tusk received backing for a second 2 1/2-year term from all members except Poland.

It was a sign that Poland can expect a "huge wave of blackmail and pressure," and the building of a "coalition against Poland," Waszczykowski said in an interview for the tabloid.

According to Waszczykowski, Poland must now "drastically lower the level of trust toward the EU. And start negative politics," like blocking initiatives of other member states.

He dismissed a question about a possibility that Poland "will not function within the European Union framework."

"No, this is nonsense and some games by the opposition. We are in the union. We are still in the game."

Poland is among biggest EU beneficiaries, and the Poles are among the club's biggest enthusiasts. But Waszczykowski's remarks seemed to be aimed at trimming that enthusiasm.