Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European Commission, and "like-minded" officials are behind the latest wave of criticism against Poland in Brussels, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said.
In an interview with the Gazeta Polska weekly, Saryusz-Wolski -- a Polish diplomat and politician who has been a member of the European Parliament since June 2004 -- used the term “Euroracism,” defining it as “the historically rooted belief and prejudice against the ‘inferior’ part of Europe that creates fertile ground for ideological crusades and discrimination.”
According to Saryusz-Wolski, some European politicians listen to what the opposition in Poland is saying and accept its narrative at face value “out of naiveté, ignorance or ill will.”
In some cases, “there is more hype than actual content as far as the European Commission’s arguments are concerned,” Saryusz-Wolski said. One case in point is the Commission's recent criticism of a Polish government-backed bill on common courts over different retirement ages for men and women, he added.
Overall, the Commission is “overstepping its powers and stretching the law for political purposes” in its crusade against Poland, according to Saryusz-Wolski.
Poland wants to be treated on a par with other EU members, “and not be lectured to and inundated with ideological interpretations, with hidden agendas in the background,” he told Gazeta Polska.
According to Saryusz-Wolski, there is a “temptation” to reverse the European Union’s 2004 enlargement to include Central Europe. Such tendencies are, for example, visible in the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron, with a call for singling out a "small EU" based on the eurozone and creating “a two-speed Union,” Saryusz-Wolski said.
The aim is to “derail second-rate” member states “while retaining their markets and withdrawing funding,” he added.
'Return to the roots'
Saryusz-Wolski also said in the interview that “the European community’s current problems” largely stem from its departure from its Christian roots and the ideas of its founding fathers such as Luxembourg-born French statesman Robert Schuman, Italian politician Alcide De Gasperi, and French political economist and diplomat Jean Monnet.
These statesmen championed a policy of tightening ties among EU members through “a policy of small steps designed to produce real solidarity rather than ideological projects,” Saryusz-Wolski told Gazeta Polska.
But at one point EU elites moved away from these ideals in favour of far-reaching changes despite a lack of public support, he said.
To overcome the crisis besetting it, the EU should "return to the roots” and “listen to the voice of the citizens in a democratic way,” according to Saryusz-Wolski.
“Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing a war of words between countries, institutions and political groups within the Union, with attempts to impose ideologically motivated solutions and a lack of respect for the national identities of countries and differences within the Union,” he said, adding that this approach goes against the bloc’s motto of being "united in diversity."
Saryusz-Wolski also said that the European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker “has proclaimed itself a political commission” instead of “safeguarding the EU’s treaties.” The 28 commissioners use “double standards” in their treatment of member states, according to Saryusz-Wolski.
He said: “They are weak when dealing with the strong and strong when dealing with the weak. They reward and pardon some member countries, while punishing others. They move into areas where they should not enter because they do not have such powers. For example, from the point of view of the Treaties, migration policy is not among the European Commission’s responsibilities, and the same goes for retirement policy and the court system. The Commission is nevertheless interfering in all these areas, deliberately obliterating the demarcation line between refugees and migrants. Meanwhile, in other areas where it has authority, such as cases of discrimination against consumers in our part of the Union or the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as well as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, it is failing to take action or surrendering authority to the big EU capitals.” (gs)