Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Brussels to the rescue?

Should the EU ‘save’ Poles from their ‘radical’ government?

The outgoing president, ex-communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, told a British newspaper this week that the ‘EU and NATO’ will limit the more extreme tendencies of the new minority, populist, social conservative Law and Justice (PiS) administration.

The comment comes before a constitutional vote of confidence which PiS must pass in the Sejm (parliament) this Thursday if they are to remain in government.

To get through the vote PiS must find support from parties such as the League of Polish Families (policies of which include making still more strict Poland’s already strict abortion ban, even when rape is the cause of the pregnancy) and the SelfDefense farmers union (the leader of which gives his support to Belarus’ president, Alexander Lukashenko).

Since the general election last September, Law and Justice have been making policy noises that will certainly disturb many a Eurocrat in Brussels.

Finance Minister, Lubinska, has said that she thinks that foreign hypermarkets are not a positive investment in Poland and that smaller, indigenous retail units should be given more support (see below). The top layer of the secret services has been given the sack. The police force is being radically reorganized and up to 50% more police will be recruited and put on the streets to combat crime. Economic policies appear to fail to tackle Poland’s ballooning budget deficit. And PiS – long hot under the collar (and sweaty of palm) about homosexuality, have indicated they are considering legislation to ban gays from the teaching profession.

All radical, or reactionary, stuff. But should President Kwasniewski be calling for the EU to save Poles from PiS and their rather strange friends?

After all, nobody is claiming that PiS won the election unfairly. There were no ‘hanging chads’ clogging up the ballot boxes.

At a time when many educated Poles throw up their hands in horror at the dismal level of turnout in Polish elections (if 50% drag themselves out to vote then it’s considered quite a success in Poland – see my Silent Majority) then should we be hoping for the un-elected in Brussels to save Poles from themselves?

Many will find some of the policies of the present government repugnant, but hoping for bureaucrats somewhere outside the country to do something about it will only increase Poles disengagement from the ballot box, democracy and politics in general.

As has been said many times elsewhere, in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. If Poles don’t like PiS then they can get rid of them next polling day.


Holender said...

Quote: As has been said many times elsewhere, in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.

I fully agree with this. There's quite a vicious circle going on right now. What Poland needs, is a stable government, rather than a swing from left to right and back every next polling day. A stable government could be - PiS and PO. Just together, in a big, broad coalition.

Unfortunately, both PiS and PO are showing that also they are typical Polish politicians who behave like little children when they don't get what they want.

Who pays for it? The people.

Becca said...

Absolutely right Beatroot.

We have to hope that the obnoxious policies that look likely to be implemented force the Poles to sit up and pay attention.

Next time, vote!

beatroot said...

Hi Podroznik…haven’t seen you around here for a while…

My point is exactly what becca is saying. The EU encourages people to not take responsibility for the actions of their politicians. And how people moan about politicians and how they are a bunch of charlatans.

But elected politicians – however moronic – are better than faceless bureaucrats that we can’t get rid of. Ask anyone to name three members of the EU Commission…I think most would struggle…

Becca said...

Ha ha, actually I could name quite a few members of the European Commission, but only because I lived in Brussels and did an internship at the Commission itself.

I take your point.