Polish PM criticises EC president's statement on Italian elections
Poland's prime minister has described remarks by European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen, that Brussels has the tools to discipline Italy if it creates a government unfavourable to the bloc, as "scandalous."
Mateusz Morawiecki said that if the Polish government's political opponents did not speak up over the matter, they would be showing the type of Europe they want.
Speaking at a conference at Princeton University in the United States on Thursday, Von der Leyen said of the Italian elections: "If things go in a difficult direction, I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools," in an apparent reference to Brussels holding up funding to Poland and Hungary over rule-of-law disputes.
"Mrs Von der Leyen's statement is scandalous," Morawiecki said. "She said that Brussels has the tools to discipline Italy if it forms a government that will not serve Brussels' interests.
"I have an appeal not only to our dear compatriots but also to the citizens of European Union countries," Morawiecki went on. "Dear people, is this the sort of Europe we want? Is this democracy, is this the rule of law? That Eurocrats in Brussels dictate how the government should be? Who is supposed to choose governments? European nations, or are Brussels and Berlin to consult and dictate how the government should be? That is not the rule of law, that is a dictate and lack of the rule of law."
The prime minister said that in the coming weeks, Warsaw would ask the EC whether it would uphold its side of contracts. He also said he welcomed the shockwaves Italy's expected new right-wing government was sending through the EU, describing Italy's probable new government as looking out for Europe's true values.
He went on to say that the "proper values are democracy, sovereignty, national governments and not bureaucrats from Brussels who will dictate, blackmail, scare, exert pressure on others.
"If our political competitors do not speak out on the matter, it will be the best testament to the kind of Europe they want," Morawiecki said.