With the World Economic Forum in full swing and the world’s leaders present in Davos, Euronews took the opportunity to discuss tensions between the European Union and Poland with the country’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Prime minister, what is your take on how the polish economy is doing? How it did last year, and what is the forecast for this year?
12 months ago many brokerage houses and financial institutions actually forecasted that there would be maybe 2 percent or 2.5 percent of GDP growth in Poland for 2017. The actual growth was 4.5 percent so we have exceeded all expectations.
So you do share all this Davos optimism coming from the International Monetary fund’s forecast on Monday?
Yes and no. I share it with regard to some aspects and with regard to Poland, of course, because there is lots of optimism about our economy and this part of the world. But, as in the magic mountain of Thomas Mann, one hundred years ago the elites which also gathered here in Davos were not so much aware of the risks coming. I nthink that it’s very good that wqe are discussing the risks, the black swans which may appear on the horizon.
What are those risks you’ve just mentioned?
The risks are around inequalities. The risks are around imbalances. The risks are around huge surplusses in one country like China or Northern countries of the European Union – current account surplusses, trade surplusses – and huge deficits in other countries. These are all risks.
What’s your take on the current relations between Poland and the EU amid the recent turmoil we have all witnessed?
It could have been better. We are worki9ng to make this better because I want Poland to be a reliable partner for the entire European Union. I believe that today we bring lots of new values – some fresh air – to the European Union…
Do you see the European Union as a reliable partner?
Yes. It’s a combination of 28 countries, 28 different interests. So I’m not basing my philosophy on Utopia so I’m a realist and I know that those interests are sometimes contradictory with eachother. And I know that we have to better explain why we are doing this reform, why we are doing the other reform.
You want to continue the dialogue to make sure that you are understood correctly.
Not only do I want to continue the dialogue, I want to enhance the dialogue. I want to present white paper on the judiciary system reform. Just to explain why the particular elements of the entire reform are actually not only good but will also create a better judiciary system in Poland. By better I mean more independent more objective more reliable more efficient and more transparent. this is extremely important for me because I believe that the economic system and social system has to rely on efficient and independent judiciary system which was not the case so far. Our judiciary system was stemming from the post-communist times.
We heard yesterday from Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron their vision on how to reform the EU. What’s your vision for how to reform the EU so that it’s more balanced and works better for everybody, for all the countries? How would you do that?
In Europe we need more competition, to be more competitive vis a vis China, India and the US. All the Chumpeterian challenges coming from central Europe should be welcomed by our friends in Western Europe rather than fanning them off and building protection barriers.
So this is one element which I would like to emphasise.
The other one regards small and mid-size enterprises. We should create an even better platform for them to freely operate in the entire EU because this is the backbone of our economy – in Poland very much so, but also in many other countries, like in Germany and I promote the mitterstand German companies coming to Poland and building the ties between Polish and German companies, or Austrian and Dutch companies.
I think it’s very good for our companies. But there is still too much red tape for small and mid size companies. And as far as the vision as far as the EU is concerned, we are composed of 28 independent sovereign states and we have to stay as united as we can while at the same time respecting the rights of each sovereign state to build their regulatory framework their regulatory system, judiciary, home affairs, refugees, migration, critically important systems as they want it to be.