EU’s Tusk says Pol­ish govern­ment are ‘con­tem­po­rary Bol­she­viks’

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Worldwide - Emil Erkoyun in War­saw

EURO­PEAN Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Donald Tusk, a for­mer Pol­ish prime min­is­ter, yes­ter­day de­nounced the eu­roscep­tic pop­ulists gov­ern­ing Poland as “con­tem­po­rary Bol­she­viks” who threaten the na­tion’s in­de­pen­dence.

Tusk, seen as a likely con­tender in Poland’s 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, spoke in the city of Lodz on the eve of the 100th an­niver­sary of the coun­try re­gain­ing its statehood at the end of World War I af­ter 123 years of for­eign rule.

He hon­oured Mar­shal Jozef Pil­sud­ski, the states­man who restored Pol­ish in­de­pen­dence and then, as chief of state, went on to de­feat the Bol­she­viks’ Red Army in 1920. He also paid ho­mage to Lech Walesa, the Sol­i­dar­ity trade union founder who chal­lenged Poland’s Soviet-backed com­mu­nist rule dur­ing the 1980s and went on to be­come pres­i­dent from 1990 to 1995.

“Jozef Pil­sud­ski was fac­ing a more dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion than we have to­day when he was con­quer­ing the Bol­she­viks and in fact, de­fend­ing the Western com­mu­nity against po­lit­i­cal bar­bar­ians,” Tusk said dur­ing an in­de­pen­dent an­niver­sary fo­rum.

“Walesa had a more dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion when he was con­quer­ing the Bol­she­viks in a sym­bolic way, when he was bring­ing out the Euro­pean, the free­dom, the na­tional val­ues in us. But he man­aged,” he con­tin­ued.

“Why shouldn’t you be able to de­feat the con­tem­po­rary Bol­she­viks?” Tusk said to great ap­plause. He ap­pealed for Poles to de­fend their rights, free­dom and to “de­fend Poland’s in­de­pen­dence”.

He said the govern­ment, led by the right wing Law and Jus­tice Party, which has re­peat­edly clashed with EU lead­ers, was a threat to Poland.

Tusk’s ap­point­ment to the EU job in 2014 was partly in recog­ni­tion of his lib­eral govern­ment’s pro-EU poli­cies. He warned yes­ter­day that the govern­ment is now mov­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

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