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IVK statement on Mrs Leyen's attacks on Poland

By former Czech president Klaus and his team

When there is a clear threat to democracy in Europe, or rather in the European Union, it is necessary for European democrats to protest loudly. This is no small matter today. Mrs Leyen declared in the European Parliament – quoted in the media, for example immediately by Czech [Public] Television – that 'the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court threatens the foundations of the European Union. The European Commission must protect the citizens of the Union and will therefore act'. That is an unprecedented statement.

Some time ago, the Polish Constitutional Court asked a question that all true democrats have been asking for many decades – should the European integration process result in the creation of a supranational entity that is superior to the individual Member States, or should these states continue to have their sovereignty and only part of it eventually be transferred to Brussels? This has been the whole problem of European integration since the 1950s. Everyone knows or should know. And no one must turn a blind eye to this question. Not even Mrs Leyen.

After months of serious deliberations, the Polish Constitutional Court has said, among other things, that part of the European Union's treaty basis is 'incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland' and has expressed the opinion that the Polish Constitution takes precedence over the European treaties. Some in Brussels may not like this, but it is the opinion of a legitimate constitutional body of an EU member state (something similar was done some time ago by the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe). No one has the right to disrespect the opinion of that body, not even a European Commission official, which Mrs Leyen is. She certainly cannot presume to say that 'the foundations of the European Union are under threat'. However, the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court has called into question the one-sided views and positions that have been promoted for years by European officials, European activists and some European politicians.

Mrs Leyen sovereignly states that 'the European Commission must protect the citizens of the Union and will therefore act'. We, too, are citizens of an EU Member State, but we do not feel threatened by the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court. No one has to protect us from it. We, on the contrary, feel the need to 'protect ourselves' from the destruction of the sovereignty of EU states. We are convinced that Commissioner Leyen's protection is certainly not needed by the citizens of the Republic of Poland either. They have shown many times in history that they care immensely about the sovereignty of their country.

It is extremely insensitive for Mrs Leyen to refer in her speech to the Polish Solidarity movement forty years ago. It refused to allow Poland to remain under the Soviet Union. Poland did not get rid of this status in order – under apparently democratic slogans – to lose its sovereignty again. The Polish Constitutional Court was aware of this, and that is what its decision was about. It is incumbent on us, the Czechs, to support the Poles in this matter in our own interests.

Shortly before Mrs Leyen's outburst today, Václav Klaus sent a letter to Jarosław Kaczyński in which he personally supported the Polish position with similar arguments.

Václav Klaus and IVK (Institute of Václav Klaus) Collective, 19 October 2021

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

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