Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni ((L) with Mateusz Morawiecki (R) in happer times in Warsaw. They are currently engaged in a power struggle within the ECR. EPA-EFE/Andrzej Lange


Polish Conservatives pressure Italian PM Meloni with threat to quit Parliament ECR group


The Polish Conservatives (PiS), the second-largest party in the European Conservative Reformers (ECR), have threatened to leave the European Parliament group.

The PiS said it would do so unless the ECR leader and Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni agreed to grant it parity with her Brothers of Italy party in terms of parliamentary staff roles.

On June 27, former Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki of the PiS told Brussels media the party was in talks with other like-minded Central and East European parties such as Hungary’s Fidesz, Czechia’s ANO and Slovakia’s ruling SMER about the creation of a separate Parliament group.

While he is not an MEP, Morawiecki seems to be co-ordinating PiS efforts in the EP to either improve the party’s position in the ECR or create an alternative to it. He assessed the chances of such a new group being formed as “50-50”.

The ECR, according to the latest calculations, has become the third-largest grouping, edging ahead of Renew Europe, but remaining in that position depends on the PiS staying in the group.

The PiS was the largest party in the ECR in the last Parliament with 27 seats but today is down to 20. It is now second behind Meloni’s party, with 24 MEPs.

The PiS is demanding that it has the same number of staff posts as Meloni’s group.

The Polish party has reminded Meloni that, despite having just seven MEPs in the last EP, her own party enjoyed staff parity.

According to daily Rzeczpospolita, the PiS is particularly keen to see the former Polish ambassador to the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, in the post of secretary general of the ECR. 

Sources close to the PIS leadership are indicating that it would prefer to stay in the ECR as it is a major group. But there are concerns that Meloni may want to develop closer relations with the European People’s Party (EPP), which the Polish Conservatives do not want.

Insiders have also confirmed to Brussels Signal that the PiS found Meloni unhelpful with regard to allowing Fidesz to join the ECR. There is also discontent regarding her tactics during talks about a broader agreement with the right-wing Identity and Democracy group (I&D).

One unnamed PiS politician, who has been highly critical of Morawiecki over the former PM’s dealings in the EU during his last government, told Brussels Signal: “When I hear that the man who accepted the EU Green Deal, Ursula von der Leyen as the President of the EC in 2019 and the conditionality mechanism for the release of EU funds, is negotiating over our political positioning in the EP I am full of trepidation that we don’t end up losing out.”

Other PiS sources were also concerned that it would be inconsistent for the party to be in a group in which the Hungarian, Czech and Slovak components had highly divergent views on the role Russia has played in the war in Ukraine.

Among related PiS concerns, following the possible re-appointment of Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission President, former senior PiS MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski told portal that he suspected “Meloni of wanting to cut a deal with the EPP over von der Leyen’s re-election”.

He added that others believed she may be trying to use ECR votes to obtain financial resources and influential posts in the EC for her Italian compatriots.