Polish Leader Warns of EU Breakup as Post-Brexit Talks Kick Off

Updated on
  • Kaczynski says various levels of EU integration would ruin it
  • Polish government seeks Brexit consultation with EU members

A two-speed Europe would break up the European Union, the leader of Poland’s ruling party warned, as the government kicked off diplomatic consultations with fellow bloc members seeking answers on the post-Brexit future.

While Poland hasn’t revealed its tactics for Brexit negotiations, which are set to begin next month after the U.K. formally declares its intention to leave, the bloc’s future is bound to be a policy priority, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told parliament on Thursday. Other Polish officials have said the well-being of almost one million Polish citizens living in Britain would also be on top of their agenda.

“The priority of our actions is to fix the European Union, not dismantle it,” Waszczykowski said. “A return to Europe driven by national egoisms would be just as harmful as integration utopias that have no social or political grounds.”

His comments echo those of Law & Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Warsaw this week. Kaczynski said that a two-speed Europe would break up the EU as we “define it today” and those “behind such proposals must be aware of the consequences.” During her visit, Merkel reiterated that EU treaties allow for varying speed and enhanced cooperation already exists in the bloc.

The largest formerly communist EU country is seeking to limit the role of Brussels and strengthen national parliaments after Brexit, while maintaining the bloc’s single market. That would be in Poland’s self interest, as it has been criticized by the EU’s executive arm for undermining the rule of law during Law & Justice’s 16 months in power. Premier Beata Szydlo is meeting with Enda Kenny, the head of the Irish government, on Thursday, a day after she held talks with Dutch Premier Mark Rutte.

— With assistance by Patrick Donahue

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