The chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) delivered a message of defiance to the European Union at his party’s annual conference.
Jarosław Kaczyński, a former prime minister and twin brother to former president Lech Kaczyński, was speaking in the small town of Przysucha.
“No one will impose a social catastrophe on us just because we are receiving EU funds,” the pugnacious 68-year-old declared.
“All of you know that I mean the immigrants that are flooding into Europe and [the EU’s] compulsory relocation [scheme].”
The bloc has been attempting to impose migrant quotas on its member-states, despite strong resistance in Central Europe, in order to alleviate pressure on Italy and Greece.
Kaczyński, in common with many other conservative politicians in Central Europe, believes the burden of dealing with the migrant crisis should fall on those countries which encouraged the influx, such as Germany, rather than those who opposed it.
“We didn’t exploit the countries where the refugees are arriving from, we didn’t use their labour force and finally, we aren’t calling them to Europe,” he explained.
“As I said in 2015 on refugees, we are ready to take part in the EU programme for refugees; we just don’t want to have problems to which we didn’t contribute. We have a full moral right to say ‘No’.”
He added, “There is no reason for us to radically lower our living standards and the quality of life in Poland” to meet the EU’s demands.
French president Emmanuel Macron, who was hostile to Poland even before his election, has accused the Visegrád group of countries resisting the quotas of “betrayal“, accusing them of them of taking all of the benefits of EU membership without wanting to bear the ‘costs’.
“Europe isn’t a supermarket. Europe is a common destiny,” he told the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. “The countries in Europe that don’t respect the rules should have to face the political consequences.”
But Kaczyński has hit back at the former Rothschild banker and Socialist Party economy minister, pointing out that businesses in Western European countries “also benefit” from EU funding, with “[Western European] enterprises located in Poland transferring tens of billions of zlotys every year without paying any taxes”.
He added that it was “important to remind … our critics in the West that Poland was the first country that had to stand up to [Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union],” and that the country had suffered “gigantic damage from which it has not recovered” as a result.
Poles should, therefore, feel no obligation when receiving “compensation” from other EU members, in Kaczyński’s view.