EU foreign policy and domestic affairs
Prime Minister Morawiecki participated in a European Council meeting that focused on the EU’s international relations (with Turkey, China and Russia, in addition to the situation in Belarus). The leaders also took an interest in the recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In addition, the agenda included ongoing issues within the EU: development of the single market, industrial policy and digital transformation. These constitute key components in the context of rebuilding the economy in Europe following the crisis.
In Brussels, the Head of Polish Government also met with his V4 partners, leaders of the Baltic states (B3), and Ursula von der Leyen, Head of the European Commission.
EU supports Belarus’ democratic endeavors
EU member states do not remain indifferent to the events in Belarus. They constitute a prominent voice in the international arena that supports the Belarusian struggle for democratic transformation of their system. From the very beginning, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki signalled the need for a shared effort in this matter. The subsequent decisions of the European Council have been a sign of European solidarity and sense of responsibility for the future of Belarus.
Economic Plan for Democratic Belarus to be carried out by the EU
A key role in this process is to be performed by the Economic Plan for Democratic Belarus. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pointed out that it was the effect of actions taken by the Polish government in previous weeks. ‘First, we presented our plan to our partners from the Visegrad Group, and then to the European Commission,’ he said.
It will become a component of a positive offer to support the systemic and economic transformation of the Republic of Belarus that is being prepared by the EU.
The Head of Polish Government emphasised that the European Commission would further develop and present the plan for execution in the following months. ‘As part of the Plan, we also wish to involve international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and European institutions: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.’
At the same time, the European Council condemned the measures taken by Belarusian authorities against protesters and representatives of the opposition and decided to impose sanctions on Belarus.
According to the announcement, the issue of Belarus will also be included in the agenda of the next meeting of the European Council.
Swift reaction of the EU concerning the situation in Belarus
Leaders of EU member states indicated the need for a united response to the actions of Belarusian authorities. The European Council condemned the violence used by the authorities against protesters and representatives of the opposition and decided to impose sanctions on Belarus.
EU-China and EU-Turkey relations
The debate among European leaders concerning the relations with China constituted a summary of the EU-China video summit that took place on 14 September.
The purpose of raising the issue of bilateral relations with Turkey was to set out a long-term EU strategy to mitigate tensions and strengthen cooperation at the same time. Other topics included the situation in the western part of the Mediterranean and cooperation in terms of migration, safety and trade. One highlighted aspect was the need for a constructive dialogue and defence of fundamental interests of the EU and its member states.
The European Council has requested the High Representative to prepare a proposal that will revive the EU-Turkey agenda, provided that Turkey ceases illegal operations in relation to Greece and Cyprus. At the same time, in the event of further unilateral action by Turkey, the European Council reserves the possibility of using all available options, having announced that appropriate decisions would be made no later than during the December meeting this year.
Current international issues
Last weekend saw the escalation of the long-lasting conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The recent developments have been the most serious events in this contentious region in years. The European Council called for an immediate cessation of military activity and appealed to both sides for a permanent armistice and peaceful resolution of the conflict. It was confirmed that the forum appropriate for this purpose was the OSCE Minsk Group, operating since 1992. For their part, the EU member states declared that they would further support the process of reaching an agreement.
The issue of EU-Russia relations in the context of the attempt to poison A. Nawalny was raised during the summit. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki emphasised that ‘the attempt to poison one of the main opposition activists should be one of the most important warning signs and wake-up calls for leaders of the Western world.’
Strategy for a strong EU on the path to overcoming the economic crisis
One condition for the EU to maintain a significant position in the international arena is a crisis-proof economy based on innovative solutions, which currently constitutes one of the EU’s essential priorities. Basic operations of the European community should be directed towards implementing an EU economic recovery package.
With a view to this, the leaders discussed ways to boost the EU’s resistance to future crises, which is to be aided by achieving strategic autonomy while maintaining the open nature of the EU economy, among other actions.
The Head of Polish government pointed out that the future position of the EU and Europe will be determined by the single market. ‘Europeanising production following the COVID-19 pandemic, which means attracting those parts of production that have been transferred outside of Europe back to Poland and other European countries, is a very important pillar of economic recovery in the EU,’ he continued.
The single domestic market – the foundations of European integration and basis of EU prosperity
Heads of EU member states discussed the Union’s policies in the face of current economic challenges. The process of rebuilding the European economy following the crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic is based on the single domestic market. It is one of the EU’s major assets, both in internal and external terms.
An efficient single market should serve industry as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and contribute to the improvement of the EU’s competitiveness while respecting its strategic interests.
It is necessary to provide tools that will make it possible to enforce Community laws, norms and standards in relation to all entities operating on the single market.