All member countries should shape EU, Polish FM says in Berlin

“European values include the solidarity principle,” stressed Czaputowicz. Jakub Kamiński/PAP

All EU member states should be involved in the process of shaping the bloc, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said in Berlin on Thursday as he criticised the idea of a two-speed Europe.

"Europe should be shaped together. No country should be excluded from it," Czaputowicz said at the 22nd International WDR Europaforum organised by the German Foreign Ministry and the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) television broadcaster.

He also made the case for a stronger role of national parliaments, which according to him better reflect democratic processes.

"The key task is to maintain Europe's unity," the Polish minister declared in opposition to the two-speed Europe concept.

"Over 90 percent of Poles view our membership of the European Union positively. It is perhaps the highest result in Europe. If there are any threats to the European Union's unity, they are not in Poland. They are in Western Europe - they are populist, eurosceptic movements. But this does not apply to Poland," the minister stressed.

The EU should be attractive in terms of values, or in other words be a normative authority, the Polish minister argued.

"European values include the solidarity principle. Solidarity with countries that fell victim to aggression, and in the case of Ukraine - Russian aggression," Czaputowicz argued as he stressed the importance of transatlantic ties for providing security in Europe.

According to the Polish minister, the EU should be open to new member states, such as the Western Balkans and the EU's eastern neighbours.

Czaputowicz appealed for the integration of the EU services sector and combating tax abuse. "Protectionism, often introduced under the guise of employee rights, is a threat. I'm referring here to the EU's posted workers directive," he added.

The Polish minister made a suggestion that certain member states are unwilling to take up reforms despite economic stagnation and choose protectionism to fight competition from younger member states. "Poland is among the fastest-growing countries, those that have the healthiest economic foundations," he said.

Apart from Czaputowicz, the forum was attended by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble, as well as a range of other officials.