Nosemonkey praises the energetic start of the Polish Presidency, not least a feisty speech by Polish PM Donald Tusk.
The text of this important speech is not (as far as I can see) on the Polish Prime Minister’s official website, even in Polish. So we have to do with some quotes as reported by the Guardian:
The passionate and optimistic defence of the EU from the Polish leader was completely at odds with the mood in Brussels and other EU capitals, where commitment to the union is being eroded by the rise of populist Brussels-bashing, squabbling leaders, and soaring mistrust between member states.
In defiance of the gloomy European zeitgeist, Tusk said: "The European Union is great. It is the best place on Earth to be born and to live your life."
An odd non-sequitur here:
He dismissed talk of the EU encroaching on the sovereignty of the nation states of Europe, referring to his own experience as a Solidarity activist in communist Poland under martial law and Moscow’s control.
"Until quite recently we saw a real restriction on our sovereignty," he said. "We were truly occupied by the Soviets. It was truly an occupation. That’s why for us EU integration is not a threat to the sovereignty of the member states."
Donald Tusk boldly names. And shames:
"I just want to resist the phenomenon of the new Euroscepticism that is everywhere," he said.
He was not referring to the intellectual hostility to the EU that is the traditional British position, Tusk said, but a more insidious and hypocritical trend in countries long committed to Europe.
"The different phenomenon I am talking about is the birth of a type of Euroscepticism which does not declare itself. But it’s the behaviour, the words, the actions by politicians who say they are for the EU, support further integration, but at the same time suggest actions and decisions that weaken the community."
He singled out the French and Italian campaigns, supported by many others, to use the north African upheavals to reintroduce national border controls and curb the travel liberties enjoyed under the EU’s Schengen system.
As the Guardian notes, it is no wonder that the EU is popular in Poland:
He leads the only country in Europe not thrust into recession by the financial crisis, the fastest-growing economy in the EU, and where the EU enjoys high popularity ratings of more than 80%, not least because of the €10bn (£9bn) pouring in every year from Brussels, making Poland the biggest beneficiary of EU largesse.
But he nonetheless just isn’t happy – for Poland ‘more Europe’ = ‘more money’, especially when provided by someone else? See this tiresome framing of the issue:
In a dig at David Cameron, Tusk also lamented the months of trench warfare looming over how to divvy up the next medium-term EU budget, describing the contest as one between those who want the budget to be "one of the main tools for European integration" and those who want "to give as little as possible to Europe".
One of my earlier postings here ruminated on the fact that the verb ‘to complain’ seems to feature rather prominently in Polish thinking:
Polish is the only one which teaches you the verb ‘to complain’ – narzeka