Jarosbaw Kaczyski, who took over as head of the Polish government following a major political crisis, has been talking to EuroNews. He heads a conservative coalition, including Nationalist and Catholic parties. Some members of that coalition have proposed anti-gay legislation and the reintroduction of the death penalty. The Kaczyski government has also raised old controversies with Germany and taken a more eurosceptic line.
Euronews: Prime minister, welcome to EuroNews. Is your government trying to renegotiate its relationship with the EU, and move away from the commitments that were made by your predecessors?
Kaczyski: The fact that Poland is part of the European Union is very positive and we support being part of the EU. Of course, we can talk about the various elements of the Treaty of Accession under which Poland joined the EU, but it doesn’t make sense to do that because the situation is as it is and we must accept it. In political terms, there’s no contradiction: we can preserve the nation state’s sovereignty, which is essential for democracy to work well. Because right now, there’s no alternative democratic system which can replace that of the nation states and at the same time be part of the European system. The way it’s structured allows countries to coordinate their efforts. It’s based on subsidiary. (Subsidiary is the principle that rather than the EU dealing with a matter, the individual country does so when it is better placed to do that). This structure helps build a real European power, which is able to hold its own against the USA, China and other world powers.
Euronews: But is Poland under your government and your leadership trying to change the relationship with the EU and with Poland’s European partners, especially after the, shall we say, political crisis involving the mainstream parties in Poland?
Kaczyski: Ours is a traditional Christian party. The Polish political scene today is better organised and in a better state than before when there were lots of little parties. Now there are two big parties which is the European norm.
Euronews: Do you think that Poland really needs to restore the death penalty as has been suggested by some politicians?
Kaczyski: This was proposed, not by my party, but by another. They have the right to propose the death penalty, but this is a small party with only about twenty members of parliament and, in practical terms, this isn’t an important proposal.
Euronews: The European Commission has opened an investigation into allegations of unfair government subsidies to the Gdansk shipyards; will Poland fight to save such an important symbol of the country’s freedom – being the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union movement?
Kaczinski: The European Commission acts within the framework of European law. I am happy that I succeeded in convincing EU President Barroso that the case should not be dropped, that we must continue our efforts to seek a positive outcome. But if you ask me the question: am I ready to defend, at all costs, the shipyards where I spent weeks as a Solidarity demonstrator? Yes, the answer is that I am ready to defend them at all costs.
Euronews: Do you think that the European Union needs a stronger common foreign policy, especially after the recent crisis in the Middle-East?
Kaczyski: Yes I believe that such a foreign policy could be of benefit to Europe and the world, but if Europe is to be taken seriously it must be much stronger. Stronger also in military terms and it should have its own credible military force. That is a problem that needs to be solved in the future; I realise that in the next few years there won’t be much progress. But we must look into this so that the EU can become an equal partner, on the same scale as the USA and China, because, as I said earlier, China will become a great power. Europe must be strong militarily. That’s what I would like for the European Union.
Euronews: Are relations between Poland and Germany going to improve compared to recent months?
Kaczyski: I believe that they will improve from October.
Euronews: Why in October?
Kaczyski: Because there will be meetings.