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2021.10.20 12:28

Brussels beats Warsaw like a child, Polish president says in Lithuania

Ewelina Mokrzecka, LRT.lt, LRT RADIJAS2021.10.20 12:28

Polish President Andrzej Duda is visiting Lithuania this week. In an exclusive interview with LRT RADIO , he ruled out the possibility of a so-called Polexit but said his country will seek the support of Lithuania and other EU member states in its row with Brussels.

“Polish people decided to join the EU some time ago. We have entered this organisation, adopting the European treaties that provide for part of our sovereignty being transferred to the EU. There is no question about that,” Duda told LRT RADIO.

Read more: 'Polexit': Is Poland about to quit the European Union?

According to the president, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the country’s law is supreme in areas where Poland did not agree to give up its sovereignty.

“The EU treaties make it clear that issues related to the member state’s legal system are internal matters of that country,” Duda said. “However, the EU institutions – the European Commission, the European Court of Justice – have been constantly interfering in matters related to the functioning of the Polish legal system. This is a clear breach of the EU treaties.”

Read more: Lithuanian and Polish presidents discuss EU-Warsaw rift: Polexit would be ‘tragic’ for everyone

The European Commission is trying to gain more competencies than it actually has, which is an attack against all EU member states, he claimed.

“I hope that other EU countries will join us in our defence. It is clear that today, the European Commission is exploiting Poland as a boy that can be beaten,” the Polish leader said.

Brussels says that the changes in Poland go against EU law, pose a threat to the judicial independence in the country, and has hinted at witholding post-pandemic recovery funds unless the rule of law issue is resolves.

According to Duda, Poland has become a scapegoat in European politics because of the country’s conservative government, which stands in contrast to the “more liberal, left-wing” EU politics.

Asked about the migrant pushbacks on the Polish and Lithuanian borders with Belarus, the president said that the question of asylum seekers has always been treated in a “humanistic” way.

“Refugees are people who cannot live in their own country because of war or persecution. That is why we evacuated 1,300 people from Afghanistan, many of whom are currently in Poland and have found refuge here. That is why we welcome Belarusian people persecuted by the Lukashenko regime.”

Several people have died on Poland’s border with Belarus, with human rights groups and activists saying that the current policy is putting lives at risk.

Read more: Thousands in Poland protest against migrant pushbacks at Belarus border

“But today, we are facing a migration crisis manufactured by the Belarusian government,” Duda said. “This is a deliberate attack, and we are defending ourselves against it. This is our responsibility not only to Polish, Lithuania, and Latvian citizens. This is our commitment to other countries in the EU and the Schengen area as well.”

Commenting on the Lithuanian-Polish relations after the Poland-friendly Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was replaced by Ingrida Šimonytė, who runs a conservative-liberal cabinet, Duda said that “the fraternity of Poland and Lithuania does not depend on who is in power”.

“Together, we are developing infrastructure solutions that connect us, including Rail Baltica, a gas pipeline between Poland and Lithuania, etc. [...] We are also building our common security. We are part of NATO and Bucharest Nine, where we work together in a Central European format.”

“So, there are a lot of areas of cooperation and points of contact between the governments of the two countries,” Duda said.

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

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