EU's right-wing parties meet in Warsaw
Leaders of European conservative parties from around the EU met in Warsaw on Saturday to tighten cooperation and set new policy directions for Europe.
Before the summit, media speculated that the leaders may want to create a new conservative group to replace the existing European Conservatives and Reformists, a relatively small party in the European Parliament.
But Tomasz Poręba, an MP with Poland's ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS), said after the meeting that the leaders did not pursue the topic.
"This meeting was meant to tighten cooperation at the European level between various parties and this meeting was also meant to formulate a diagnosis of EU functioning and policy directions that clearly require a change," Poręba said.
"And about the new group, we'll see in the future, for the time being there is no such topic," he added.
Poręba told reporters that all the leaders of 13 centre-right parties who met in Warsaw believe "the successive attempts at appropriating the competences of national states by European institutions, the European Parliament, the European Commission, is absolutely not a path which serves the development of the European Union."
He said that the Saturday's meeting would be followed in the coming months by a series of expert conferences aimed to prepare a coherent vision of Europe and a response to an ongoing "one-dimensional" debate, organised by the European Parliament, on the future of the EU.
He assessed that this debate sees the future of the EU "as a superstate, a federal EU without the powers and sovereignty of national states. We want a completely different (European- PAP) Union," Poręba said.
"We want a European Union of homelands, we want sovereign countries, sovereign governments... but most of all we want more rights and more votes in the EU for citizens who elect governments in democratic elections, and not for technocrats, Eurocrats, who do not have such democratic legitimacy," he added.
In a statement published after the meeting the leaders of European conservative parties said that the European institutions must not be "a social engineering tool for building a new European nation... like, for example, an ideological operation on language, which aims to detach people from their culture and heritage, such as the European Commission's attempt to remove the name 'Christmas' from the public space."
"The concept of such a nation has never existed, does not exist and cannot exist," the statement read.
"The participants of the meeting declare their will to cooperate in solidarity, at various levels and in various forms, with all parties and organisations for whom the unique heritage of Europe and the concept of Europe of Homelands is dear," it added.
PiS spokesman Radosław Fogiel said that despite obvious differences, the issues that united the array of European conservative parties included "respect for European treaties, democratic choices of citizens and for the EU as a union of nation states".
Apart from PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński, the meeting was also attended by leaders of a dozen or so European conservative parties, including Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban and France's far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen.