Update, May 3: The much respected and award winning British blogger, Clive Matthews, aka Nosemonkey, at the Europhobia blog joins the Geremek campaign.
Update: British historian Norman Davies (who has been sent a lustration questionnaire!!!) in an interview with the Daily Telegraph on the new law: "This is either going to end in farce or coercion, and that would be the step from democracy to authoritarian rule. Academics and journalists are in the firing line. This is nothing to do with winkling out collaborators. This is about showing loyalty to the Kaczynskis."
A Polish European member of parliament (MEP) is in danger of losing his seat. In danger, that is, not from the European Parliament, or the voters that put him there in the first place, but from the Polish government. This is not democracy as we know it in Europe.
Bronislaw Geremek was one of the leaders of Solidarity through the 1980s. Later he served in several governments after 1989, and eventually was elected by Poles as a Member of the European Parliament.
After the latest ‘Lustration Law’ came into force earlier this year – which forces every public person to sign a declaration saying that they had not consciously collaborated with the communist secret services – Geremek has refused to sign.
He has signed similar declarations three times before, but being asked to do so for a forth time is, for him, ‘humiliating’.
The Polish government has decided that if he does not sign then they can dismiss him as an MEP.
But as EJP reports:
The European parliament has supported Polish MEP Bronislaw Geremek over his refusal to comply with a new Polish national law to weed out communist-era secret police informers.
Poland’s electoral commission has announced that Geremek was disqualified from being an MEP after he refused to submit a declaration saying that he had not cooperated with communist-era services.
Bronislaw Geremek "is a political personality of the highest esteem who has always stood up for democracy in his country and for European unification," said Parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering, Thursday in Strasbourg.
"We will examine all legal possibilities that he can continue his work," he added.
Five groups of the parliament – the centre-right, socialist, liberal, green and extreme-left- have pledged to defend Geremek against attempts to strip him of his mandate.
The interference by Warsaw into affairs that are between the elected MEP and his voters contravenes the usual standards of democracy. Aside from whether you think that he should sign the vetting document, or not, the principle of an elected official being answerable to the people who elected him is a vital one and must be respected by the Polish government.
There is a petition in support of Bronislaw Geremek. It says:
We, European citizens, are deeply concerned by the principles of democracy and human rights and give our full support to Mr. Bronislaw Geremek. The Polish law of lustration, which threatens him of dismissal from his mandate of Member of European Parliament, directly breaks the rules and values to which Poland solemnly adhered, while becoming a Member State of the European Union.
We firmly urge for the Polish law of lustration to be repealed. Otherwise, we ask our European governments to consider the application of all the provisions of article 7 of the Treaty.
Please show your support for democracy by signing the petition here.
bloggers for Bronislaw, foe
Euro Parliament discussion of mandate of Polish MEP Bronisław Geremek
p.s. Milan Kundera signed it!