Poland chal­lenges Euro­pean iden­tity

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

I am writ­ing this from a ho­tel room in War­saw, sur­rounded by memo­ri­als to Fred­eric Chopin, the great Pol­ish com­poser and cham­pion of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion for the Pol­ish peo­ple. This is a par­tic­u­larly ap­pro­pri­ate time to be here, since Poland is locked in a bat­tle with the Euro­pean Union over the ques­tion of Pol­ish na­tional self-de­ter­mi­na­tion – more than two cen­turies af­ter Chopin was born.

The is­sue comes down to this: Poland elected a gov­ern­ment that pledged to change the di­rec­tion in which the coun­try was mov­ing. The new gov­ern­ment was of the right. It op­posed the poli­cies and in­sti­tu­tional stance of the previous, left-of-cen­tre gov­ern­ment. The previous gov­ern­ment had em­bed­ded its fol­low­ers in var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions, such as the courts and na­tional ra­dio, as gov­ern­ments tend to do. The new gov­ern­ment saw it­self as fac­ing a hos­tile ju­di­ciary and state-owned me­dia. And so it sought to change the man­age­ment of the state-owned me­dia and “re­form” (in its terms) the ju­di­ciary.

When it tried to change per­son­nel in both in­sti­tu­tions, the op­po­si­tion charged that these ac­tions vi­o­lated the con­sti­tu­tion, that the gov­ern­ment had over­stepped its bounds and that it was try­ing to re­press crit­ics. The gov­ern­ment coun­tered that the op­po­si­tion was try­ing to thwart the new gov­ern­ment from rul­ing. It had been elected by a sub­stan­tial ma­jor­ity, and it had clearly ex­pressed its poli­cies dur­ing the elec­tions.

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