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Henkel: “It is the Poles who bravely fought against communism, risking their lives.

I do not recall hearing anything about the heroics of Angela Merkel in the GDR.”

wpolityce.pl interview

The wisest decision by Warsaw has been its refusal to adopt the common European currency. And I can only advise Poles: do not change your mind. Keep as far away as possible from this sick concept! When weak states join it, they do not automatically become strong. When we look at the economic growth in the euro zone, we soon realize that it is a dying zone. It cannot work in the long run, says the German MEP from the Alliance for Progress and Turnover (ALFA), former chairman of the board of the Federal German Industry Association (BDI).

wPolityce.pl: The First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, said Thursday during a debate in the European Parliament that the European Union must protect the rule of law in Poland because it is the responsibility of the European Union. The Law and Justice Members of the EP responded that the EC was meddling in Poland’s internal affairs and exceeding its powers. Who’s right?

Hans-Olaf Henkel: In a sense, both. I am convinced that your president understands, apparently as I do, that in the case of two out of the four new laws aimed at reforming the judiciary, Law and Justice went a little too far. By the same token, finding the solution to this problem should be left to the Poles. That’s why I am on the side of President Andrzej Duda in this dispute. I see the problem , but it is the Polish people, not the European Commission, who should solve it. Poles do not need the instructions from the EU, which itself constantly breaks all possible rules and regulations. In addition, the Commission is again guilty of hypocrisy. Why does Timmermans not intervene in the matter of Central Bank, which – by far exceeding its powers – finances the bankrupt member countries of the euro zone? Why is he silent about the breach of the Dublin Regulation by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the autumn of 2015? It is a scandal that the EC is so aggressive towards Poland while being silent when it comes to very serious violations, such as the EU rescue packages for Greece.

Well then, why is Timmermans silent on these matters, and why does he pillory Poland?

That’s a good question. The EC is clinging to the fiction of The United States of Europe and attacking all those who do not share this vision. Jaroslaw Kaczynski does not share this vision, neither do the British, and neither do I. This is the main motive behind these attacks. All those who do not want a European super-state are to be punished. Please note how Barnier (the main EU negotiator of Brexit) and Junker treat the British during the negotiations over London’s exit from the EU. Outrageously! The British are to be punished for the decision they made. They spoiled such a beautiful utopia. German TV stations ARD and ZDF utterly falsely reported on the refugee crisis. It did not and still does not bother anyone in Brussels, but the Poles are taught how to reform their media.

So far, the chancellor has refrained from commenting on Poland’s internal situation. Recently, however, she stated that she could no longer remain silent on this matter, and that „the rule of law is the basis of the European cooperation.” How should this be interpreted?

The chancellor is running a campaign before the September 24th Bundestag elections. We all know what the elites, also those in the media, are like. Their patronizing tone is standard when dealing with Poland. German elites, for some reason, think they need to explain to Poles what freedom and democracy are all about. The chancellor also has a tendency to do so. I would advise her not to forget it was the Poles who bravely fought against communism, risking their lives. I do not recall hearing anything about the heroics of Angela Merkel in the GDR. The chancellor should not forget that many members of the current Polish government were in the Solidarity movement and were victims of communism. I understand the chancellor’s commitment to the defense of human rights and the rule of law, and she indeed is relentless, also toward China and Russia, but that does not mean she can instruct the Poles.

What is also worrying Poland is the EU reforms that Berlin and Paris are proposing, that after the Bundestag elections there will be a unanimous Franco-German step forward towards a deeper integration of the euro zone. There will be a single finance minister and a common budget. Should we worry?

By all means, because it’s sheer madness, and at the same time it is a logical continuation of the existing policy regarding euro. If you want to save the common currency, then no doubt you should do just that. In the end, the Eurozone will turn into a centralized European superstate, where everything is harmonized – wages, taxes, welfare, and the member states are no longer competing. Where one country is responsible for the debts of other countries, in reality nobody is responsible for the debts. In my opinion, this will have catastrophic consequences for the euro zone because it will stop being competitive. Polish politicians were right when they said that France was not competitive compared to Poland. And it is because of the euro zone. The wisest decision Warsaw made was to refuse to join the common currency. And I can only advise Poles: do not change your mind. Keep as far away as possible from this sick concept! When weak states join, they do not automatically become strong. When we look at the economic growth in the euro zone, it soon becomes clear that it is a dying zone, compared to countries with no common currency. In the long run, it cannot work. It will fall apart, probably due to the intensification of centrifugal forces fighting to preserve the prosperity that has been produced over decades.

Proponents of the single currency argue that the reforms by Macron and Merkel will lead to the emergence of a two-speed Europe, and by refusing to join euro, Poland will find itself in the slower speed group, with no ability to influence decisions…

And who would want to participate in making such bad and foolish decisions? Participation in a club where wrong, irrational, common sense defying decisions are made is not beneficial. We need to maintain a common market , the greatest achievement of the EU integration. The single market is the source of prosperity in the EU. We should not forget about that. As far as the eurozone, we should get rid of it instead of widening it.

Zdjęcie Aleksandra Rybińska

author: Aleksandra Rybińska

Political scientist. Graduate of Paris Institute of Political Studies (Institut d’études politiques de Paris). Reporter for portal wPolityce.pl and weekly Sieci, member of the board of Maciej Rybiński Foundation. Earlier: Rzeczpospolita, Uważam Rze, Gazeta Polska Codziennie, Welt Am Sonntag i Der Tagesspiegel

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