Russia tries to destabilise EU, Polish PM tells BBC

Russia is using various methods to destabilise the European Union and to stir up its ultimate collapse, Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, told global broadcaster BBC World.

In the interview aired on Saturday, Morawiecki commented on the ongoing migration crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border. Poland, other EU members and the United States have accused the Belarus of instigating the crisis in order to destabilise the EU.

Morawiecki said the Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, initiated the crisis by inviting migrants from the Middle East and Africa, who were promised a better life in the EU and added that Lukashenko had someone more powerful backing him.

"Of course the immediate perpetrator is Mr Lukashenko and the Minsk regime, but he has his sponsor, his principal, and his principal is in the Kremlin," the Polish prime minister said.

He said that in fact the Kremlin was pulling the strings in the migration crisis in Belarus and accused Moscow of building up its military forces near the Ukrainian border to intimidate its neighbour.

"All the pieces of the puzzle put together present not a very good picture," Morawiecki said, adding that "Russia is increasing its propaganda these days."

He also said Russia is putting "an enormous pressure on the European Union to disintegrate, to dis-unite all of us" and accused Russia of using oil and gas deliveries to blackmail its neighbours.

According to Morawiecki, Europe should "wake up from this geopolitical nap" as further Russia-inspired crises could soon emerge.

Speaking of such threats, the Polish prime minister said "things may happen in Ukraine" or there may be "another huge migration problem for the whole of Europe", including from Afghanistan.

Morawiecki called for the strengthening of Nato and for the organisation to highlight "hotspots", or emerging risks to Nato.

Commenting on his talks with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, on November 26, when the BBC interview was originally recorded, Morawiecki said "we were very much like-minded, in particular with regard to Russia."

He also said "Russia is capable of a simultaneous attack on many different fronts... and this is why such good friends as the United Kingdom and Poland, we should not only share our opinion... but we should immerse in an in-depth discussion and co-operation on an operational level."

Explaining Warsaw's strained relations with Brussels, Morawiecki said that claims that Poland wants to leave the EU were "completely exaggerated."

"This kind of discussion is being created and nurtured by our opposition," he said. "But the true reality is that Poland is a member of the European Union and Poland will stay as a member of the European Union."

He also said Poland was "the voice of common sense" in the EU.

Morawiecki went on to say that the core of the dispute was "who is the master of the destiny of the European Union".

"The member states, they are the masters of the Treaty, of the Treaty of the European Union," Morawiecki argued. "So if there are any new competences to be transferred to the European Union, it has to happen through the treaty, and right now we're confronted with a different situation (in which) the European Commission and the European Court of Justice say they have these or those (such and such - PAP) competences, which are not mentioned in the Treaty."

Morawiecki went on to defend his government’s judiciary reforms, which the EU says are undermining judicial independence in the country. The Polish prime minister said that "what we wanted to achieve was all to strengthen the independence of the judiciary system".

Asked about his vision of Poland's future, Morawiecki focused on the geopolitical aspects, naming such challenges as the growing influence and aspirations of China and "not only good guys around Europe".

"We may be thrust into a new era of destabilisation," the Polish prime minister warned.