Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki: Respecting national identities is the foundation for trust in the EU

“United in diversity – this EU motto is not just empty words. Respecting national identities is the foundation for trust in the EU,” said the prime minister during the plenary debate on the future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “It is an honour for me as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland to be able to present the Polish viewpoint on the most important challenges the EU is facing, and to do this here, at the European Parliament, which reflects the voice of EU citizens expressed in democratic elections to the largest extent among all EU institutions,” he added.

Premier Mateusz Morawiecki i Antonio Tajani wchodzą do siedziby Parlamentu Europejskiego 1 of 17
Fot. Krystian Maj / KPRM

In his speech, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki referred to the history of Poland, which, as he believes, shows how deeply the idea of parliamentarism, democracy and state of law is rooted in our culture. As he underlined, Poland was one of the first countries in the world to give full democratic rights to women. Moreover, he recalled that this year marks the 550th anniversary of the first convocation of parliament (the first Sejm) and the centenary of regaining Polish independence.

The Prime Minister emphasised how it is important to discuss the future of Europe, especially now, when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, which started the difficult history of the twentieth-century Europe. “It was after the two disastrous World Wars and inconceivable crimes of genocide when sixty years ago, free nations of Europe took the historic decision to start integration and to look what we have in common, despite the differences between us. If not for the Iron Curtain and the tragic division of Europe after World War II, Poland would also be a founder of the European Communities, as wished by the Polish government-in-exile,” said the Prime Minister. He underlined that this division had left the Polish society outside the first wave of European integration and outside the scope of sustainable development.

“This is why today, even more so as a full member of the EU, we want to mark our participation in the pursue for a meaningful programme for our continent as strongly as possible. As any other European nation, we have our expectations towards the Union, but we have also much to offer,” underlined the Polish Prime Minister.

As he emphasised, pluralism is highly relevant for the functioning of a country and an organisation. The Prime Minister stated also that respecting national identities is very important. “Our nations have been shaped for centuries by their cultures and institutions. Respecting these national identities is the foundation for trust in the EU. The constitutional pluralism, covered by Article 4 of the Treaty, is a great value, and each state in the Union has the right to shape its legal system according to its traditions,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in his speech.

“However, the differences between us cannot obscure the common goal, that is the security of our citizens and economic development,” he added.

The Prime Minister referred to the crises that the EUR has faced in recent years, mentioning e.g. the bank crisis, the financial crisis, the euro area crisis, the migration crisis, Brexit and the aggressive policy of Russia. He also mentioned the need to consider why so many Europeans do not like the direction in which the Union has been going for years. “This question has been answered many times and in various ways, but I think the most accurate answer is that which has been at the root of all the great changes in our history. People have a gene of freedom within them, they want to decide for themselves about their lives,” stressed the Prime Minister. “Therefore, the European project needs a new opening, a redefinition of the balance between nation states and cooperation at European level,” he added.

In this understanding of the future of the European Community, Poland proposes to focus primarily on three aspects. “The first aspect is Union 4.0, the European Union as the outpost of the fourth industrial revolution and a deepened common market. The second aspect is the Union that is secure, that is, aware of the geopolitical challenges it faces and ready to respond to them with a single voice of solidarity. Finally, the third aspect is the citizens' Union, which is a socially sensitive union supporting its citizens in their struggle against the power of global corporations,” said the Prime Minister.

Union 4.0

“We are proposing the EU at the forefront of the technological, industrial and digital revolution,” said the Prime Minister in relation to the proposed changes.

Among the proposed solutions, he mentioned, inter alia: a common market, new competition rules, combating the VAT gap and counteracting tax havens at the European Union level. “After all, VAT revenues are also revenues for the Union,” he stressed.

According to the Prime Minister, we should not forget about the European energy transition which requires a combination of “price competitiveness with geopolitical realism,” as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. “After all, competitive energy prices are crucial for the competitiveness of national economies,” he added.

The secure Union

“It is in our best interest to have peace and stable development of our borders through, among other things, defence capacity building,” stressed Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. “I welcome the creation of the European Defence Fund and the PESCO programme which will provide an additional supranational source of funding for investment in the defence industry,” he added

The Prime Minister pointed out that “demographic pressure from the outside, especially from Africa and the Middle East” will only intensify, therefore the EU should become involved in the stabilisation and development of these regions. “Today, the new Marshall Plan for Africa is a necessity, as is the fight against illegal human smuggling to Europe. Poland supports the creation of new funds for Africa,” he added.

The citizens' Union

According to the Prime Minister, there can be no development of societies without combating inequality, exclusion and poverty. “We must not forget the fundamental principle on which our community is based, which is social justice,” he said.

The Polish example over the last two and a half years shows that the right strategy can change the social and economic reality. Decreasing budget deficit, ambitious social policy, reduction of bureaucracy for entrepreneurs and citizens, tax reduction for small and medium enterprises, rebuilding financial policy due to fight against organised crime groups of tax fraudsters and effective tightening of the fiscal system – these are just a few of Poland’s successes presented during the speech of the Prime Minister.

“The European Union may become the symbol of the European dream again. However, it will be possible only if we make the right choice, overcome the disputes dividing us and always remember that despite our disputes we are connected by the European identity,” he continued.

“Europe should be strong in order to better defend our interests, yet the European sovereignty cannot mean building the Union at the expense of the strength of the Member States, because the strength of the sovereign Europe comes from the strength of the Member States,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at the end of his expose in the European Parliament.