“If we were trying to reach a compromise with the European Parliament, I would be very skeptical. We have not reached an agreement with the Parliament for a long time, even when it comes to simple facts. (…) It is a very politicized chamber, which now has a clear opponent. Or even worse than that. For some MPs, Poland is an enemy in the fight with whom they try to display their political courage and define themselves in the eyes of their voters,” says prof. Krasnodębski, PiS MEP, in an interview with the wPolityce.pl portal.
wPolityce: After yesterday’s debate in the European Parliament on the EU budget summit in December, are you optimistic about the negotiations, or is it hard to expect an agreement?
Prof. Zdzisław Krasnodębski: We are now looking for a compromise with the Presidency, with the Council, and with the Member States, not with the Parliament. If it were about a compromise with the European Parliament, I would be very skeptical. We have not reached an agreement with the Parliament for a long time, even when it comes to simple facts. It was difficult already in the previous term of office. Again, it is challenging because, after the last European elections, the balance of power has changed even more for the worse. It is a very politicized chamber that now has identified a clear opponent. For some MPs, Poland is an enemy fighting with whom they have to display their political courage and define themselves in their voters’ eyes. The louder one screams, the more popular he becomes with his radical electorate. On the other hand, when it comes to a compromise with nation-states, either a compromise will be achieved, or there will be no long-term budget framework or Recovery Fund. This is perfectly obvious, and there is only a question of what this compromise will look like and what we will agree to.
wPolityce: Is it possible that there will be an agreement at the state level, and the European Parliament will not accept the budget if the rule of law mechanism is rejected or weakened?
Yes, because a vote must approve this multiannual budget framework in Parliament. The majority in the Parliament are as they are, so the Parliament as a whole is basically on one side in this dispute, with all its radicalism. The Parliament forced the introduction of these provisions in the negotiations under the German presidency, which we find completely unacceptable. The initial position of the Presidency was moderate and provided a reasonable basis for a compromise. However, in the negotiations between the institutions, many radical provisions were later added to this regulation. Also, the European Parliament has no right to amend the multiannual budgetary framework, and yet such negotiations took place. We have a package because the conditioning mechanism is not a separate rule of law mechanism. The spending of funds is conditioned on the mechanism. However, the EU budget’s multiannual financial framework and the Recovery Fund will have to be ratified by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland because it is an entirely new fund, closely tied to the Commission’s ability to take on debt. This shows the level of the legal mess in the EU. The three closely related issues follow different procedures. This so-called rule of law mechanism, or conditionality, should in principle be treated equally as part of the multiannual financial framework but is being enacted according to a completely different procedure. The Parliament having more power, forced its position on the Council. The Council, represented by the Presidency, is therefore in a rather tricky situation.
On the one hand, it is under political pressure from the Parliament. Still, it is also under heavy pressure from the segment of the public watching the five-year-long developments closely, as well as from some of its politicians who are frustrated that the procedures under Art. 7, in the cases brought before the European Court of Justice, have not to lead to the condemnation or punishment of Poland, as well as to the change of power in Poland and the reversal of all PiS government-enacted reforms, etc. They would want all this to have happened. But they would also like to impose the fundamental principles of liberal democracy, such as euthanasia or the adoption of children by homosexuals, etc. – this “beautiful” package that they propose. For the radically liberal, libertine politicians, these are real European values. They are frustrated and will insist that no agreement is reached.
On the other hand, the German presidency must strive for a compromise; otherwise, it will end in one big flop. We’ll see how it turns out. Angela Merkel is a pragmatic, good politician who can compromise and ultimately discipline her MPs.
And how do the MEPs of the liberal factions refer to the arguments that it is, in fact, an attempt to circumvent the treaties and replace Art. 7 with a new mechanism? Do they downplay these accusations or admit between the lines that this is what it is all about?
In many countries, those who are not satisfied with the situation for various reasons realize that there is a severe violation of specific rules adopted at the EU level. At the EU level, the rule of law is becoming more and more fiction because the treaty rules are being violated. Today we have a tremendous political clash across Europe, and most politicians, especially from the left-wing liberal factions, serve their clientele in this political dispute. Unfortunately, the so-called Christian Democrats and Conservatives have long ceased to be conservative. There are indeed MPs from time to time, for example, in the CDU, who see that these trends are hazardous and not in line with their beliefs. However, publicly, they rarely dare to express their views because, over the last five years, Poland’s extremely negative image has been built up; there is a whole pile of various accumulated documents to which one can refer. Today, a resolution on abortion rights in Poland will probably be adopted. This will be another document that can be referred to with the next resolution. The incredible power of persuasion against Poland makes them afraid to defend our democratic rights. So, I would look for allies among those concerned about the state of European law – in the Commission, the Council, rather than in the European Parliament or maybe at the level of the national parliaments, obviously ignoring some fringe groups considered too extreme.