Poland and Italy’s right-wing rulers are to cement their “special relations” at a meeting in Warsaw, in what could make a new anti-EU league a major force in the next European Parliament (EP).
The meeting, between Polish ruling party chief, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Italian interior minister and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, on Wednesday (9 January) is to discuss Poland’s membership in Salvini’s new EP group, according to Italian daily La Repubblica.
“It’s a meeting at the highest level. If [party] president Kaczynski meets another politician, it’s a sign of a certain special relationship, which is how we’re treating it,” Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz also told Polish radio station RMF on Saturday.
“We have to discuss matters related to the European Parliament,” Czaputowicz added.
Jacek Sasin, an MP from Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said it was “uncertain” whether the meeting would “deliver a certain objective, an agreement”.
But Salvini and Kaczynski would “exchange ideas … on how the European Union should function”, he said.
“There are definitely different points of view between us and Mr Matteo Salvini … but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some ideas in common on how the [European] project should be modified,” he added.
“The message [of Wednesday’s meeting] is: The Polish government is shifting its position to the anti-European fringe,” Slawomir Nitras, a Civic Platform MP, said.
“It [the Polish government] is not just sceptical [of the EU], it’s joining up with forces who are thinking of how to dismantle the European Union,” he added.
“If he [Salvini] … persuades Law and Justice to join, it will be one of the largest groups in the next European Parliament,” Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, a former Polish prime minister who left PiS, also said.
Salvini has already convinced French and Dutch far-right parties, the National Rally (formerly known as National Front) and the Party for Freedom, to join.
If PiS, as well as Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, come on board, it could get 140 MEPs or so, making it the third largest in the EP.
If Salvini becomes Italian prime minister, as many expect due to his party’s surge in polls, and if PiS wins Polish elections this year, then the new group would also have two leaders from the G6, or group of six largest EU states.
But for his part, Czaputowicz, the Polish foreign minister, did little to support Sasin’s claim in his RMF interview.
EU institutions had ganged up to “hurt Polish authorities as much as possible,” he told Polish radio on Saturday, referring to the EU sanctions procedure.
“The European commonwealth is functioning badly … the EU can’t conduct actions which don’t have public acceptance,” he added, on the rise of anti-EU populism.
Those remarks were mild by comparison with the eurosceptic rhetoric of the Polish president, PiS ally Andrzej Duda.
The EU was an “imaginary community from which we don’t gain much”, Duda said at a rally in October.
Just because Poland was an EU member “doesn’t mean we should repeat the mistakes of the West and become infected with social diseases that dominate there,” Kaczynski himself said in September, alluding to EU values such as multiculturalism and LGBTI rights, opposition to which brings together Europe’s far right.
Full article: Italy and Poland in talks on anti-EU league (euobserver)