Jacek Czaputowicz, who served as foreign minister from 2018 to 2021 in Poland’s ruling Conservative PiS Government, has slammed its foreign policy arguing it has been “outplayed” by Brussels after getting involved in counterproductive disputes that have strengthened the cause of Euro-federalism.
In an interview with Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Czaputowicz states bluntly that Poland has “contributed to an exponential leap in the direction of federalising the EU and has not got anything for it”.
Asked whether the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki should have vetoed the conditionality mechanism that allows the European Commission to block European Union funds if it believes a there has been a violation of the rule of law, Czaputowicz agreed there are those who say that ought to have occurred.
He added that he believed the main mistake was for Poland to lose the support of other countries in the region and become isolated. He argued that Morawiecki made a serious error in transferring all European matters to the PM’s chancellery, thereby neutering the diplomatic efforts of the foreign ministry.
He said the actions taken hampered relations between Poland and the EU. That was in reference to the way Poland has conducted its dialogue with the European institutions over the rule-of -law issue.
“Taking the conditionality mechanism to the European Court of Justice was a mistake. We lost, and the EC gained what it wanted – the legalisation of the conditionality mechanism,” Czaputowicz said.
That led to Poland having to change its legislative process in its supreme court, meaning “the European federalists gained confirmation from us that not only is conditionality legal, it’s also effective”, he added.
The foreign minister said he saw that as a paradox, adding that even after Poland rowed back on its judicial reforms it did not get its post-pandemic funds from the EU.
He said not only has Poland contributed to the federalisation of the EU but it hasn’t got anything in return because of “gridlock” in the Polish constitutional court.
“Brussels should build PM Mateusz Morawiecki a monument or at least a chamber in the European Parliament should be in his name” because the leap in the direction of federalisation of the EU is impressive, he added sarcastically.
The Polish Government’s EU policy has also been criticised by the justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who is the leader of the Sovereign Poland party, and by former PiS prime minister Beata Szydło. Ziobro has consistently argued that Poland should have vetoed the conditionality mechanism in the European Council.
Czaputowicz and others, such as members of the right-wing Confederation alliance of libertarians and nationalists, claim that the judicial reform had been mishandled. They argue this has created both international and domestic political problems without realising the objective of improving the Polish justice system.
Czaputowicz recently criticised Poland’s spats with Ukraine over grain transportation and the Volhynia massacre of Poles in the Second World War in what is now Western Ukraine and Poland’s policy towards Ukraine itself, likening the behaviour to that of “hyenas and jackals”.
The PiS was furious, accusing him of disloyalty, and his verbal attacks regarding its EU policies will likely only further inflame party members’ ire.