Catch it while you can: an edition of BBC World Service radio programme The Real Story that looks at Poland’s current political escapades and features me trying to get a word in edgeways as three Polish experts slug it out on the rule of law and so on.
The (very) deep underlying issue here is how far in today’s Europe a country can ‘protect’ its national identity, whatever that is. As I pointed out in this programme, Poland for all sorts of reasons is impressively Polish. The hope-for-the-best ‘liberal’ agenda on migration from North Africa and the Middle East as espoused by Brussels/Berlin can only work as a one-way ratchet to reduce what Poles see as their current Polishness or even Poleitude.
Maybe for today’s world Poland is just TOO Polish and that needs some diluting?
Fine. But Poland seems to think that that is a matter for Poles themselves to ponder, not something to be imposed by QMV in Brussels. That said, as this programme shows it’s not so easy to make that argument without slipping into pronouncements that sound, ahem, rather ‘narrow’ if not scandalously ‘phobic’ on different counts.
Likewise the new row over moves by the Law and Justice (PiS) government to ease out lots more judges. No-one in Poland denies that the judiciary is overdue a serious sorting out, to weed out poor judges and (perhaps) to correct the overall profile of the judiciary that has had an easy time of it following the end of communism. But as usual PiS methods come across to some otherwise sensible people as being worse than the disease.
Can EU HQ aka the Commission invent new crafty procedural ways to link Poland’s future EU funds to ‘rule of law’ good behaviour as proclaimed by EU HQ? To do that they need to invent mechanisms that are not subject to unanimity and so an ultimate member state veto from eg Hungary. No doubt they’ll try.
If the programme is done again in, say, 30 years’ time, the EU and Eurozone and all sorts of other things will be quite different. Is it nonetheless implausible to think that EU member states that currently defy the multicultural fashions (eg Poland and Hungary) might still be relatively stable if not successful?