Polish FM accuses West of colonial attitudes

In an interview for the Slovak paper SME, Zbigniew Rau also accused the West of having a distorted image of Central Europe and claimed that the EU was trying to grab more power. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Poland’s foreign minister has accused the West of harbouring “colonial” attitudes towards Central Europe.

In an interview for the Slovak paper SME, Zbigniew Rau also accused the West of having a distorted image of Central Europe and claimed that the EU was trying to grab more power.

His claims were published on the day EU leaders met in Brussels for a two-day summit.

Rau praised the work of the Visegrad Group (V4), made up of Poland, Hungary and the Czech and Slovak republics.

But he added that its image of a group that just complained and criticised reflected an apparent problem that "in certain circles, colonial habits and views still linger, in line with which small and less wealthy countries are supposed to be mere recipients of political ideas or cultural trends.

"These circles believe that they are still the centre of global progress," he continued.

Rau argued that this vision was an anti-democratic anachronism, and said the V4 countries have the same right to express their views, to decide their own path of economic and social change, and to define the course of systemic reforms, as other European countries do.

"And we are going to staunchly defend that right, whether people like it or not," he said.

Not mincing his words, the foreign minister said EU institutions were using their own interpretations of issues surrounding the rule of law "in order to gain more power," but he said that Poland would defend itself against this, which, Rau added, is counter to the EU treaties.

Poland has been accused by Brussels of undermining the rule of law and democratic standards.