EU: Expert on fears of Poland being 'marginalised'
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Ryszard Czarnecki, who is also a former vice-president of the European Parliament, said such was the level of “incompetence” when it came to managing the situation, there was even speculation of the dismissal of the European Commission – and President Ursula von der Leyen – although he admitted such an outcome was unlikely. And he also lamented Brexit, explaining his country, in particular, missed the UK’s contribution.
Mr Czarnecki was speaking at a time when Mrs von der Leyen’s performance at the head of the Commission is under intense scrutiny.
The rate of vaccinations per 100 people in the EU27 (17.03) is less than a third of that in the UK (52.53), with French President Emmanuel Macron imposing a lockdown this week in the face of a third wave of COVID-19 fuelled by the emergence of a more virulent new strain.
Mr Czarnecki told Express.co.uk: “It is possible to make a mistake, but it is much worse not to learn from these mistakes.
“A year ago, the Union allowed itself to be surprised, but so did some countries, such as Italy.
“However, one year on, Italy has learnt its lesson and is in the lead in terms of population vaccination, whereas the EU seems to have learnt nothing.”
At last month’s European Council summit, which was shortened from two days to one, leaders had not even been able to agreed on a system for vaccination passports, Mr Czarnecki pointed out.
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He added: “A year ago, the European Union was paralysed when the pandemic started and was widely criticised for this.
“Unfortunately, one year on, the situation has repeated itself, that is to say, the vaccination campaign is being dramatically mismanaged, with as many as 77 million vaccines – nearly half – of those produced in the EU being exported, when there is a widespread shortage of vaccines in the 27 Member States of the EU, this best shows the incompetence on the part of Brussels.”
The criticism of the Commission – and of Mrs von der Leyen herself – was therefore inevitable, he explained.
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He said: “Some diplomats are even talking about its dismissal, just as the Santer‘s Commission was dismissed over 20 years ago.
“I think, however, that this scenario will not happen. Not yet.”
Mr Czarnecki has also been left disappointed by the EU’s failure to persuade the UK to remain in the bloc.
He said: “I did not want the United Kingdom to leave the EU – it was in the interest of my country, Poland, that there should be more countries which think about the future of the EU in terms not of one federalist superstate, but of a Europe of nations, a Europe of homelands.
“After a divorce, however, it is in the interests of both sides to look for what unites, and not to pick up what divides.
“I am talking about economic interests, but also about external security and the fight against terrorism.”
As for Poland’s future within the bloc, despite talk of a so-called Polexit, Mr Czarnecki, a member of the Law and Justice party, remains committed to its ongoing membership – at least for the moment.
He added: “We are the fifth largest country in the EU, but we also have our own aspirations and interests – sometimes different from EU’s interests, Germany’s interests or France’s interests.
“Poles don’t like to be instructed by anyone how to live, what to do – we don’t accept that Brussels can be a prosecutor who accuses Poland of something, or a judge who judges Poland.
“However, Poland was in the Soviet bloc for the whole of the period after the Second World War, so for geopolitical reasons our nation prefers to be in the structures of the West.
“Another thing is that when in eight to nine years Poland will become a sponsor of the European Union, because our contribution will exceed what we will get from the Union, then I predict that Eurosceptic moods may intensify.”
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