Polish PM: Poland is a sovereign state
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło addressed the Polish parliament on the topic of an EU ultimatum on the rule of law in Poland.
Mr Speaker, Members of the House,
I turn to you today with an issue that should be an obvious one for Polish politicians, for those who bear the responsibility of governing Poland as well as for those in the opposition. Unfortunately, recent statements and actions by the opposition, statements and steps that you have taken, demonstrate the need to remind you of the fundamental responsibility that falls on Polish parliamentarians.
This duty is to work on behalf of the defence of Polish sovereignty. Poland is a sovereign nation, something that you seem to have forgotten. Poles have witnessed how you took the political dispute abroad. How you campaigned in Brussels for resolutions to be passed against Poland.
Now we once again see how Platforma, PSL and Nowoczesna politicians take great satisfaction in the fact that certain European institutions are taking action against Poland. Yesterday, you received the information about the European Commission’s decision with a smile on your face.
Is this how you stand up for Poland? Is this what the role of the Polish parliamentarian looks like? Is this your understanding of Polish sovereignty?
Is this the behaviour of concerned supporters of the state? People who care about affairs of the state? Who worry that their country is being shown in a negative light?
I have always wondered why you never say “Poland” but rather “this country”.
And I think those smiles on your faces yesterday, the smiles that accompanied the communiqué from Brussels, say it all.
But let me remind you of a sentence which everyone in this chamber, including you, members of the opposition, spoke out in this very chamber only six months ago. Back then, each one of you said: “I do solemnly swear to honestly and conscientiously perform my duties to the nation, to safeguard its sovereignty and protect the interests of the state”.
This is the official oath made by members of parliament that each one of you made. Let me repeat: “for the sovereignty of the Polish state”.
And it is at this point that we should remember today the words of the great Pole, the primate of the millennium, Stefan Wyszyński, who said: “What we need is the powerful will to organize our native forces, those of our homeland, so that we don’t give in to dissenting voices, wherever they may come from.”
Your statements still contain incomprehensible anti-EU rhetoric. You say that Poland is looking for a quarrel with the EU. This statement could not be any more untrue.
Poland is a member of the EU. It is a full member of the community and has the same rights and responsibilities as the other states. Poland is not taking part in any negotiations with EU institutions. We are taking part in a dialogue on the same terms as other states. Right now, it is not Poland that has a problem with its reputation and with authority – it is the European Commission.
Does a serious partner allow for leaks to happen in the middle of a dialogue, in the middle of talks? If it turns out to be the case that yesterday’s information, the media leaks connected to the Opinion that was to be made regarding Poland…How can it be? We are in the middle of talks, there is an ongoing dialogue, and the opinion has already been prepared. Who gains from this?
Today I can say that there is an increasing number of people in the European Commission who want to destroy the European Union rather than see it develop. It is a scandal that the European Commission is not able to resist the pressure that you are putting on it. We are committed to resolving the crisis surrounding the Constitutional Tribunal.
We are determined to resolve the situation because we place great value on mending the state of this institution, which has been dragged into politics and the opposition’s dirty games. Its apolitical nature is meant to be the strength of this institution. Attempts to dominate the Constitutional Tribunal by today’s opposition forces have weakened and instrumentalised the institution.
But above all, they have encouraged the opposition to try to use the Constitutional Tribunal as the last bastion of defence for its interests. Creating a way out of the Constitutional Tribunal crisis is dependent on a good agreement, which protects the legal and constitutional convictions of Poland’s citizens. We want it to be in line with requirements and standards of the law, including European law.
But for this to happen, we need dialogue and a desire to reach an agreement. Agreement from your side. No one apart from the Polish state is able to dictate how to find a solution.
It is our Polish responsibility and no one can take away this responsibility from us. And I would expect the opposition to take a similar position. Because it concerns the status of the Polish state. It concerns our sovereignty.
At this point, I would like to also explain something to you, because it seems to me that you have a different view regarding Poland’s role in the European Union. And, after six months, it is important that you finally understand what is in Poland’s national interest.
Our strong position in the European Union should be dependent on our actions, solidarity and the mutual respect between member states. We are connected by our aims and ideas. By our common values and the belief that the European Union is a guarantor of calm, peace and prosperity for the people in Europe. I get the impression that you have a completely different understanding of our role in the European Union. You think that having a strong position in the European Union depends on humbly accepting whatever is forced upon you, in return for a mere pat on the back.
And here we should once again remember the words of the great Pole, Stefan Wyszyński, who said that no nation can be fashioned according to the mould of other nations. The European Union needs Poland, just as much as Poland needs the European Union. It is worth remembering this when one encourages the Polish government to abandon values such as self-determination and national sovereignty. In the name of misunderstood political correctness.
The right to self-determination, the belief that power can only come from the democratic will of the people, these are principles for which Poles gave their lives for. This love of freedom is a result of our difficult history. Let me remind you: Poland did not always have a place on the map of Europe. Our national borders and community was built by the blood of our fathers and grandfathers.
One should also remind Europe what Poland has sacrificed for freedom and democracy on this continent. “For our freedom and for yours”: these are not empty words. It is important that you remember this today. Poles died in all the wars. They died for Poland’s freedom but also for the freedom of Europe. One should not be afraid to remind people of this.
It is important to tell people boldly, with our visors opens, how Poland’s actions have demonstrated the meaning of solidarity. Poles created the biggest freedom movement of the 20th century. If it wasn’t for “Solidarnosc”, the Berlin Wall would still be standing.
I am saying this so that you remember that Poland needs Europe, but let me remind you once again: above all, Europe needs Poland. We are Europeans, but first and foremost we are Poles and we want Europe to respect our decisions, our community, our traditions.
We want Europe to respect our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of all other European nations. The Polish government will not yield to any ultimatum. The Polish government will never allow for Poles to be subjected to someone’s else will. The Polish government will only answer to the will of Poland’s citizens. Only Poles and our sovereign decisions will decide the future of our nation.
I will never join the appeal currently circulating the corridors of power in Brussels, that some prime ministers give up the will of their citizens. Never!
I am the prime minister of the Polish government and the opinion of my fellow Poles will always be paramount. Let me say it again: I am European, but above all I am a Pole. I am proud of Poles and of Poland, and without any shame, with my head held high, I represent my fellow Poles in Europe. I represent Poland – a large, sovereign country in the heart of Europe.
You have asked me today, what the Polish government plans to do. You are urging us to surrender to the demands made by Brussels. But let me ask you this: what do you want? Do you want decisions about the future of Poland to be made here, in Warsaw, or elsewhere? Do you want Polish issues to be decided upon by Poles, or someone else? What are you urging us to do? Think it through.
You are undermining the sovereignty of the Polish nation. You are happy when Poland is attacked, when bad things are said about Poland. And I tell you again: Poland is something great.
When you were in power, without giving it much thought you agreed to take in thousands of refugees without listening to the will of the Polish people. Today, you are once again attacking Polish sovereignty; just as they want to force Poland into making ill-judged decisions regarding migrants, they are also trying to scare us with consequences.
Today, the European community is our shared challenge. Today, like never before, Europe needs co-operation, solidarity – and this co-operation and solidarity needs to be based on healthy principles. On the respect of sovereignty and the opinion of every single member of the community.
And it is exactly the migration crisis and the pressure that is being put on Poland and other countries that demonstrate so clearly that the European Union is going through a deep crisis, a crisis that we need to solve. All of these actions in Europe, including your incitement of the European Commission, as well as action taken against Polish interest, is leading to an increasing amount of anti-European movements across our continent. Is this what you want?
In the face of such threats, in the face of such challenges, our Polish politicians should stand united. They should stand shoulder to shoulder to solve these problems, instead of inciting against their own state. You should be ashamed of the fact that the Polish prime minister has had to remind you of your parliamentary oath today, remind you of your duties towards Poles and Poland.
That is why I also want to call on the Speaker and the whole House to show solidarity and speak out together against the attacks being made against Poland. But before I do this, let me remind you of the first lines of the preamble to the Polish Constitution, the Constitution that you have been talking about so much and that we have been defending: “Having regard for the existence and future of our Homeland, Which recovered, in 1989, the possibility of a sovereign and democratic determination of its fate, We, the Polish Nation…”
Poland’s sovereignty is etched into the Constitution. It is written into the preamble as well as many of its articles. But Poland’s sovereignty also needs to be imprinted in to the heart of every single Polish citizen. Politicians in particular.The defence of sovereignty and the protection of national interest is the foundation of the parliamentary oath. Serving Poles and Poland is our duty.
In the face of recent events, the Sejm should once again be reminded why – and for whom – we are here.
Honourable members of parliaments, dear Poles, at this point in time it is once again worth remembering the words of Stefan Wyszyński: “On every step of the way, we will fight for Poland to be Poland, for Poles to be able to think in Polish”.
Today, more than ever before in the past 27 years, our nation needs faithfulness, unity and steadfastness in protecting our sovereign right to make our own decisions.
Thinking in Polish, for Poland. Poland, after all, is not “this country” – it is our Poland.
Parliament adopts resolution on the defence of Poland’s sovereignty and the rights of its citizens
“In line with the Constitution, the Republic of Poland is a sovereign, democratic state within international law,” stated a resolution, adopted by parliament today, on the defence of Poland’s sovereignty and the rights of its citizens. The document said that “recently the sovereignty of our state has been violated, undermining the principles of democracy, legal order and social harmony in Poland”.
The resolution notes that the dispute surrounding the Constitutional Tribunal has been used as pretext for these actions. In the resolution, the lower house of parliament says that “law and civil liberties are not in danger in our country”.
“New legal solutions regarding the Constitutional Tribunal can only be established through dialogue held in the Parliament of the Republic of Poland. The parliamentary majority is ready to find a compromise in co-operation with the opposition forces,” the resolution states.
The resolution also mentions the attempts by EU institutions to “force decisions onto Poland regarding migrants who have come to Europe”. It states that “the decisions put forward to solve these problems have no basis within European law, they violate the sovereignty of our state as well as European values and the European Union’s principle of subsidiarity”. “The actions also threaten social order in Poland, the security of its citizens as well as the country’s civilizational heritage and national identity,” the document reads.
“The Republic of Poland’s parliament calls on the government to take action against efforts targeting the sovereignty of our state, and it states that it is the government’s duty to defend national interest and constitutional order in the Republic,” the resolution says.