Donald Tusk and Jaroslaw Kaczynski
The original on the website of the Carnegie Moscow center
It is difficult to say when the last time the EU so badly and deliberately humiliated one of its member countries, as occurred yesterday with Poland during the elections of the President of the European Council. Perhaps in the year 2000, Austria has experienced something similar, when its leaders no one wanted to communicate due to the fact that they took in the government of the far-right freedom Party. But since then, the EU tried to bring anyone to a complete loss of face. Even when a small Czech Republic single-handedly blocked ratification of the long-suffering of the Lisbon Treaty, Brussels patiently led the Czechs negotiate and eventually agreed on a few symbolic concessions.
Poles to soften the blow did not. On the contrary, contemptuously dismissed the Polish objections from all their naive and awkward maneuvers, secret negotiations and a few minutes of overwhelming votes from 27 countries versus one of Poland’s re-elected hated today’s Warsaw Donald Tusk President of the European Council. After losing to the Polish government the dispute over the constitutional court, Brussels managed to win in the fight for one of the main positions in the EU, making the exchange of blows in the basic format of relations between Poland and the European Union.
The conflict between Poland and the EU around the President of the European Council did not originate in a vacuum, and that was the idea to create between the parties love and trust. European Council the most important institution of the EU. Don’t sit there powerless European bureaucrats and the heads of state and Ministers. All major EU decisions are taken there, and nowhere else. Of course, the influence of the President of the European Council on the outcome of the meetings is limited, but the European bureaucracy this post is the most important and comparable in influence only to that of the head of the European Commission.
In 2014 to convince the countries of Eastern Europe that they are now a full part of the EU, Brussels has put forward in presidents of the European Council Donald Tusk, then Prime Minister of Poland. High position was a reward for Pro-European policies of the Tusk, which successfully helped the EU to resolve differences, not only with Poland but also with other problematic countries of Eastern Europe.
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In the spring of this year has expired term of the Tusk, we had to decide to re-elect him for a second term or to move to this position to someone else. Both could go quite smoothly, but in 2015 in Poland changed the power – the Seimas and the government, and the President came under the control of a perennial enemy Tusk Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his party “law and justice”. Therefore, Poland and the EU rested, turning insignificant the election procedure of the President of the European Council almost a reason for Polexit.
In this conflict, the behaviour of Poland, which refused to support Tusk, showed the extent to which the Polish government turned into a puppet theater Carabas-Barabas. It turned out that Jaroslav Kaczynski, who do not occupy any official posts in the Executive branch – he is a simple MP can push any as you want harmful to the interests of Poland the decision. Neither the foreign Ministry nor the government nor the office of the President or in the ruling party no one will not say a word against the absurd whims of the member of the Seimas Kaczynski. On the contrary, they will use the full power of the state machine to the whim to fulfill.
About the fact that in the spring of 2017 will be a question about a possible re-election of Donald Tusk, has long been known – the period the President of the European Council fixed, two and a half years. Before Kaczynski undecided, other representatives of the Polish leadership was not going to turn the re-election of Tusk in battle with Brussels. Everyone knew that the resistance is nothing but shame won’t bring, so it’s best to use the situation to at least slightly mitigate disputes with the EU in other areas. Representatives of the ruling party publicly stated that Tusk should be supported.
But shortly before the elections, Kaczynski decided to support Tusk is impossible. Because reputational losses for Poland is nothing compared to those sins, in which Kaczynski accuses Tusk. There is everything: the creation of a mafia capitalism, corruption, anti-Polish activities in Brussels and even colluding with Putin in order to arrange a plane crash near Smolensk that killed the Polish President and twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Lech.
Difference of opinion in the leadership of Poland ceased and instead was ordered to demand from Brussels, impossible – to choose the President of the European Council pole, but not Tusk, MEP Sariush-Wolski. Like in the EU, which includes 28 States, the top post in the European bureaucracy are reserved exclusively for the poles and if one of them is no longer appropriate, then replaced him definitely need to take another.
It is unlikely that Kaczynski with all his inexperienced in international Affairs do not understand the absurdity of such a position. Apparently, the hope was that the more controversy around the candidacy of the Tusk, the less likely his re-election. And who it will choose a new President of the European Council, is not so important – the main thing is to not Tusk. There were hopes that the resistance of Poland can support Hungary and the United Kingdom – they say that each of them has so much conflict with Brussels that another extra is it only in fun.
But expectations were not met – clumsy Polish diplomacy did not support any country in the EU. 27 unanimously, almost without debate, endorsed the re-election of Donald Tusk to another term. Did not even listen to the requests of Poland, at least to postpone the vote because the powers of Tusk expire only in may. The issue has been resolved, it is not necessary to hold, we have the regulations, go to the next item.
Lost Poland from this conflict, more or less clear. Unprecedented international humiliation, isolation in the EU, hostile to the President of the European Council. But Brussels is also allowed Kaczynski to manipulate themselves and came out of this dispute is not the best way.
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No tradition of the re-election of the President of the European Council in the EU has existed. Tusk’s predecessor Herman van Rompuy held the post for one term. In 2016, before Kaczynski announced his objections, the EU is actively discussing other candidates. Said that Tusk is a centre-right, and they now occupy positions of European Commission President (Juncker) and the speaker of the European Parliament (Tajani), so the post of the President of the European Council it is necessary to give someone from the left such as Hollande, he is just the summer freed from his French duties.
And probably would have given, if Warsaw did not start aktivnichat. But the Polish government could not keep silent, and the possible replacement of the Tusk immediately equated to pandering to the blackmail of Kaczynski. Immediately become not important, you need Tusk on this post or not, the main thing – to do the most unpleasant way to Warsaw, which has no respect for an independent judiciary, imposing censorship on the media and does not want to cooperate with Brussels. As if further humiliation for the Polish government will add the local courts of independence.
By and large, the re-election of the Tusk was the act completely meaningless, because he has ceased to perform its primary function for which it in 2014 and moved to the presidency of the European Council. Hitting at such a high position, he had to show that Eastern Europe is a full part of the European Union. But now it shows exactly the opposite. What Eastern European countries are not able to put national interests above party interests that they bring personal squabbles on the European level that they should constantly teach, to instruct, to punish.
In the end, this can make the Tusk, which could equally well make some other experienced European politician? Nothing. He was re-elected simply because this was required by the logic of escalating conflict between Brussels and Warsaw. Brussels and the approval of the Tusk is the same emotion as the objections of Kaczynski.
More importantly, the President of the European Council was re-elected politician, whose party in Poland lost all the possible choices. That is, the Polish society and Brussels selected to be as inconsistent politicians that they are unable to reach agreement even at the international level. Moreover, in its decision, the Brussels talks directly to the Polish public that they are voting wrong. The poles are not able to choose a normal manual and Brussels know best who should represent Poland in the EU.
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In European politics, a new niche. This is people who at home are all lost, but their positions are really like Brussels, so to submit the relevant country prescribe them. Other EU countries that supported Tusk, in the future may be in the same position as now Poland. Their internal opposition, losing elections at home, will seek the favor of the EU and start to bring with them scores from high office in Brussels.
The vote to elect Tusk was carried out very quickly, and no one paid much attention to the competing candidate who was offered by the Warsaw – Jacek Sariush-Wolski. And his participation in this venture says a lot about the crisis in relations between Brussels and Eastern Europe.
Saryusz-Wolski is not a technical piece, not obedient puppet Kaczynski. Before this conflict he did was not “Law and justice” Kaczynski, and “Civil platform” Donald Tusk. Saryusz-Wolski is one of the most respected in Poland, diplomats, and esteemed in all parts of the political spectrum. Now he is a member of the European Parliament, and in the nineties and the early noughties was for many years the main representative of Poland in the negotiations on the accession to the EU.
By agreeing to participate in the adventure Kaczynski, Saryusz-Wolski could not understand that the President of the European Council he does not Shine in any hands. The post of Minister of foreign Affairs of Poland it is also unlikely to attract because Kaczynski’s government is a place for meek artists, not for self-realization. Fanatical eurosceptic it will not name – people spent significant part of his life, making Poland the EU joined. Nevertheless, the attitude of Sariush-Wolski to the EU in recent years has changed so much that he could not resist such a antirussische antics.
This evolution of the euroenthusiasts to euroscepticism in Eastern Europe experienced not only Saryusz-Wolski. He and Kaczynski, and Orban belong to that generation of Eastern European politicians, who 15 years ago was in awe of the EU. They were ready to make any concessions, if only their countries were in the EU. Now what? Now they are the main eurosceptics in constant conflict with Brussels, smash his arrogance, excessive interference, double standards. Deep disappointment in the region, out of which is not visible.
The current dispute between the EU and Warsaw will only exacerbate this exclusion. Perhaps in Brussels hope that by re-electing Tusk, so they will be able to specify Kaczynski, where it belongs, to bring to life, make more constructive. But knowing the leadership style Kaczynski, most likely, everything will be exactly the opposite.
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Jaroslaw Kaczynski very stubborn and vindictive politician who on the way to the goal ready to break any rules. Suffice it to recall how in 2010, President Lech Kaczynski, violating all possible basis of diplomatic Protocol, without the invitation of the Russian side went on a visit to Smolensk, to prevent the then Prime Minister Tusk alone to participate in the mourning ceremonies at Katyn. The visit ended in tragedy, in which Yaroslav, contrary to common sense, continues to accuse Tusk and Putin.
Kaczynski will not forget the humiliation which he had set up in Brussels, by re-electing Tusk. He will continue to fight – albeit in the craziest ways. Already talking about the fact that Warsaw will now boycott all events involving Tusk. Or that the Polish authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of Tusk – whether for participation in any corruption Scam, the Smolensk plane crash. And of course, Warsaw will become even more intractable on pan-European issues.
This revenge Kaczynski most harm Poland itself, but also the EU will bring many problems, further deepening the rift and misunderstanding between Western and Eastern Europe.
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