Will Poland Follow Brits and Leave the European Union? European Council President Donald Tusk warned earlier this week of a “serious threat” that Poland would leave the European Union because of tensions between Warsaw and Brussels.
The Polish economy has steadily grown for years, even in the midst of the 2008 crisis, while some other EU members have been in recession.
Despite this, the Poles have disagreements with Brussels on other issues. The EU has criticized Poland’s judicial reforms in particular over the new law reducing the retirement age of Supreme Court justices to 65 years. Brussels fears that reforms could threaten the rule of law in the country.
Donald Tusk, who was prime minister of Poland between 2007 and 2014, asked Warsaw not to create conflicts with Brussels in order to avoid Polexit, ie Poland’s exit from the European Union.
An accidental exit?
According to the president of the European Council, a possible exit from Poland of the EU could happen by “accident”. However, some members of the European Parliament disagree with this view.
“A country could leave the EU by accident in the same way a prisoner could accidentally get out of a maximum security prison,” Steven Woolfe, a British independent member of the European Parliament, said.
Michal Marusik, a Polish representative in the European Parliament, also believes that such an accident would be unlikely.
“Nothing in the UK happened ‘by accident’,” Marusik said.
Warning statements may be linked to the fact that Tusk considers a possible return to Polish politics, but it is unlikely that the Civic Platform party to which he is part will be able to gain momentum, Marusik said.
“There is in fact a chance for Donald Tusk to try to return, but it seems to me that it will no longer be necessary because the ‘Civic Platform’ political project cannot be revitalized. The same causes that formed the Civic Platform will now organize a completely new sociopolitical force, not associated by society with the existing structures of power and influence,” said Marusik, vice president of the Europe of Nations for Freedom Group, a conservative group that brings together members of right-wing parties from various European countries.
European Union hostage of France and Germany?
Britain’s Steven Woolfe sees Tusk’s words as an attempt to scare the Poles, who for the most part “still want to belong to the EU.”
“However, if Brussels continues with its relentless attempts to interfere with the laws and institutions of Poland, this can change,” said the European Parliament.
Marusik emphasized that the European Union is largely a Franco-German alliance, which hindered the influence of other members in the bloc’s policies.
“Practically, the Union does nothing with which France and Germany do not agree,” Marusik said.
A survey carried out in September showed that more than 65% of Poles are against a possible exit from the European bloc. Only 17% would like to leave, while another 17% have no opinion on the subject.