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Respekt: Change in Polish politics is challenge to Czech gov’t

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Prague, Nov 2 (CTK) – The victory of Law and Justice (PiS) of Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the Polish general election may strongly affect the Czech Republic that has profited from living in the shade of the Polish openness towards the European Union until now, Martin M. Simecka writes in the weekly Respekt out on Monday.

The Czech self-centered position and absence of solidarity have become more apparent with politicians critical of the EU wining control over Poland, Simecka writes.

The fact that Poland is giving up the role of the connection between the West and Central Europe is a big challenge to the Czech government, he says.

The strategy of foreign policy starts assuming a far greater importance in the rocked Europe, he adds.

Kaczynski calls for the defence of the Polish national dignity (“godnosc”) and he uses this term as a weapon against those who go down on their knees before the EU, which is how he describes the outgoing government that turned Poland into a major player in the EU and whose former prime minister Donald Tusk was elected president of the European Council, Simecka writes.

But Kaczynski claims that the price for Poland´s international popularity was the loss of its national dignity. Though most Polish and foreign commentators believe that Kaczynski is a pragmatic cynic who will not start big conflicts with the EU, the change in Poland´s foreign policy will negatively affect the Czech Republic, Simecka writes.

The election victory of Law and Justice seems to confirm the era of a one-colour government with authoritarian tendencies in Central Europe. The only one of the four countries of the Visegrad Group that does not have such a government will be the Czech Republic, Simecka writes.

The political changes in Poland will make the Visegrad Group, including also Hungary and Slovakia, much more united against the EU on the issues related to the refugee crisis. In reaction, Germany and the Western part of the EU may lose patience with Central Europe. It is hard to say what it would actually mean, but the possible lowering of the EU subsidies to the region could be one of the less serious consequences, Simecka writes.

The trouble with the Central European region is that it is splitting the EU and not offering anything that would help the EU. The Polish election result is yet another confirmation that the EU cannot rely on the readiness of Central Europe to take steps that are in the interest of the whole of the EU, Simecka says.

It is also clear that Poland will insist on the mining and burning of coal, thus opposing the EU majority on issues of climate change and reducing emissions, he writes.

Polish politics has traditionally used strong words and gestures. Tusk and his foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski used them very often when they promoted the idea that Poland should contribute to the EU unity, in other words, that it should be part of the West, Simecka writes.

He says this is no longer true as Kaczynski wants to turn Poland into a regional power that has influence over the region reaching as far as the Baltic states and Romania, which is an idea that was first promoted in Poland under Jozef Pilsudski in the 1920s.

This idea was rather naive then and it is naive now, but this is not so important. The core of the problem is that this dream automatically weakens the Polish links to Germany and France, which Tusk and Sikorski systematically developed, Simecka writes.

It would be paradoxical if Poland, in the name of “godnosc,” lost its allies in the West and failed to find new ones, Simecka writes.

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