Prague, Oct 26 (CTK) – Czech PM and Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Bohuslav Sobotka believes that Poland will remain the Czech Republic’s ally even with a new government, he said yesterday, in reaction to the results of the Polish general election in which the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) won.
Right-wing opposition Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala welcomed the victory of the opposition PiS headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Fiala is of the view that it will strengthen the transatlantic course of Central Europe.
Experts now expect Warsaw to be more critical of the European Union, but they do not anticipate any radical changes.
The victory of the PiS, led in the election by Beata Szydlo, will terminate the eight-year governance of the liberals from the Civic Platform of current PM Ewa Kopacz.
Sobotka congratulated Szydlo on the election success yesterday and at the same time, he thanked Kopacz for “a very good and intensive cooperation.”
“The Czech Republic has traditionally had excellent neighbourly relations with Poland and I suppose that we will successfully develop them with the new Polish government as well,” Sobotka said.
Poland is a significant European player and Prague’s close partner in the EU, he added.
Sobotka said he would like the intensive cooperation between both countries to continue also in the Visegrad Four (V4) Group, comprised of Hungary and Slovakia as well.
Czech President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek pointed out the recent meeting of Zeman with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, who enjoys PiS’s support.
“These negotiations brought about a significant result in the form of Poland’s fundamental participation the V4 cooperation without any disturbing moments or surprises…It is very appreciable that the Polish election winner shares the vision and that she will develop it. From this point of view, the election result is a good piece of news for Czech-Polish relations,” Ovcacek said.
Agriculture Minister and Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputy chairman Marian Jurecka told reporters that the future would depend on whether the winning conservatives would govern alone or in a coalition. Until then, it is premature to assess what can be expected of the new Polish government, he added.
Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, in a letter of congratulations to PiS, called its success “an important piece of news for us and the whole Europe.”
“Polish citizens have made it clear that they wish the Polish government’s course to change. Regarding the migrant crisis, which all of us consider the main issue the European politics is faced with, it is important for us that PiS espouses realistic positions,” Klaus, known as a critic of the EU, wrote.
Fiala also said the PiS victory would strengthen security in the whole region.
“After the victory od the British Conservatives, the results of the Polish election confirmed support for reform parties that are striving for the preservation of the national states’ powers and are a realistic alternative to the unsustainable dogma of an ever narrower EU,” Fiala said.
The Polish election will mainly cause changes in relation to the EU, TOP 09 deputy chairman Marek Zenisek said. He pointed out that the Kopacz government belonged to the core of European integration, while the PiS would be rather an ally of the British Conservatives.
Tomio Okamura, who heads the minor opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy movement, said he expects a change in Poland’s political course, including its turn to the criticism of the EU’s migration policy.
“The approximation between Poland and the EU, promoted by the present prime minister, will not take place, and Poland will undoubtedly be very Eurosceptic,” Okamura said.
MEP Petr Mach, chairman of the right-wing Eurosceptic Free Citizens party, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel would hopefully not be able to push through further refugee quotas after the Polish.
“I am glad that the government party that gave in to Germany on the quotas was justly beaten,” Mach said about the debacle of the Civic Platform.
Vit Dostal, from the Association for International Issues, told CTK that he did not expect any radical changes from the new Polish cabinet, except in relation to the EU.
He said Polish-German relations may cool down a bit. However, Poland is still aware of that it needs strong European allies mainly due to Russia, he added.
On the issues of migration and quotas, Warsaw’s stance is likely to come closer to that of the other V4 countries, Dostal said.
“The Law and Justice remains a party rejecting quotas and opposing immigration, but its politicians’ opinions can be easily mixed up with the statements by some Czech or Slovak Social Democrats,” Dostal said.
From the economic viewpoint, a considerably looser budget policy can be expected as a consequence of populist steps by the new government, economist Jan Bures, from the Postovni sporitelna bank, said.
He pointed out that the PiS had promised, for instance, to lower the retirement age, considerably raise tax deductions for children, introduce free medicines for pensioners and increase defence spending.
The fulfilment of these promises depends on whether Szydlo will behave pragmatically or whether PiS chairman Kaczynski will keep pulling the strings behind the stage, Bures said.