Poland's PM: we don't want a divided Europe of 2 speeds

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2017 5:31 PM
Poland's PM: we don't want a divided Europe of 2 speeds

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's new prime minister told parliament Tuesday that his government opposes what he called a two-speed European Union that he said divides nations into better and worse ones.

Mateusz Morawiecki outlined his foreign and domestic policies in a speech to lawmakers a day after he was sworn in and given the task of boosting the economy and Poland's image abroad.

A 49-year-old former international banker, Morawiecki succeeds Beata Szydlo at the helm of the same ruling Law and Justice party team.

Poland has developed a number of recent conflicts with EU leaders who have threatened punitive actions to curb Polish moves seen as going against EU values. Morawiecki warned against ignoring Poland's voice at a time when Europe is debating its future.

"Dear Europe, Poland's piece fits perfectly into the European puzzle for sure, but it mustn't be placed the wrong way or by force, because by doing so you will destroy the picture and our piece," Morawiecki said.

He stressed that while the EU is debating its future shape in anticipation of Britain's leaving the 28-member bloc and under economic and social pressures, Poland opposes any divisions.

"We don't want a union of two speeds. We do not agree to Europe being divided into better ones and worse ones," where stronger nations are favored.

"That's not right," he said.

The areas of contention that have distanced Poland from most other EU nations include Warsaw's refusal to accept migrants within a sharing program, its reorganization of the judiciary that is seen as a threat to the rule of law and the country's logging in a pristine forest.

Morawiecki said Poland will abide by the ruling of a top EU court, expected within months, on the forest issue.

A confidence vote on the government was scheduled after midnight and Morawiecki's administration was expected to pass.

Ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland's most powerful politician, said that a "deep" reshuffling of the government would probably take place in January.

Police were also removing some among a few hundred anti-government protesters from the street near the parliament building, which the crowd was blocking as it demonstrated against the ruling party's policies.