Correspondent in Berlin
The ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU, which condemns Poland to pay one million euros a day Until it dismantles its Judicial Disciplinary Chamber, a political supervisory body of the judiciary considered by the community authorities incompatible with the principle of judicial independence, it is for several ministers of Warsaw casus beli. There are those who openly call for community insubordination, such as Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, who has declared that “Poland should not pay a single zloty”, while the prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki it adopts pre-war language, publicly describing the European sanction as the act of Brussels ‘putting a gun to my temple’. Morawiecki has been the delight of the British Fianacial Times this week, even stating in an interview that “if the EU starts World War III, we Poles will defend ourselves with all our might.”
Conscious of finding itself in a dead end, the Polish government is already preparing a reform that will allow the controversial Disciplinary Chamber to be closed “in a few months”, but both this latest fine and the fine of 500,000 euros a day for not closing the Turów mine , polluting territories of the neighboring Czech Republic, or 100,000 euros a day for allowing the felling of trees in the protected Bialowieza forest, are openly described as “blackmail” by the government and generate a feeling of disaffection among the Polish population towards the EU and its institutions, even among the most critical of the regime of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, vice president and leader of the government party Law and Justice (PiS). “They are elements of pressure and only the weak give in to them,” reproaches Ziobro, who defends that “the Polish state should not bow to anarchy” and is openly against complying with the payments imposed by Brussels.
“The Polish population is very pro-European, all this has to do more with an internal staging,” apologizes the political scientist Piotr Buras, head of experts at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Warsaw, “but there is no doubt, the situation is perceived with discomfort and in the key of threat ». Within the Polish government there is a eurosceptic part and a hostile part With the EU, it is necessary to take into account this background, says Buras, in addition to a series of events that increase the feeling of insecurity and danger in the country, such as the steps back that the US has taken in NATO on defense from Europe or the gas pipeline that German neighbors have built to transport large quantities of Russian gas to their northern shores. The fact of seeing the Russian influence grow on both sides of their borders makes Poles uneasy, acknowledges Leipzig political scientist Irenerusz Pawel Karolewski.
Acute crisis on its border
Poland is also experiencing an acute crisis on its border with Belarus, to which the Minsk government pushes illegal immigrants daily, and the Poles do not perceive that the EU is providing much help in this regard. The Polish Parliament gave the green light on Friday to the construction of a three meter wall high to reinforce its border with Belarus, a work that will cost 350 million euros and that Morawiecki has justified by alleging the “need to protect our borders” and the “attempt to destabilize our country by Alexander Lukashenko.” The Polish Defense Minister has also just announced the dispatch of almost 3,000 more soldiers to the border, after clashes with “various violent groups” of the previous week. In total, there are already more than 10,000 soldiers deployed in the border area. Warsaw has decreed a state of emergency in the region and for almost two months the provinces bordering Belarus have been living in a militarized situation, with curfews, security controls in which citizens are forced to identify themselves and access prohibited to the press and humanitarian organizations.
According to Karolewski, in this context of threat, a “de-democratization” is taking place in Poland, which the citizens accept because of the dimensions of the danger “and also because the Poles are very consciously aware of the correct side of democracy and history.” The dialectic of the Polish government would also respond to this collective sense of insecurity. The Deputy Minister of Justice, Sebastian Kaleta, has described the latest European sanction as “the next phase of an operation to prevent the sovereignty of Poland.” “It is a usurpation”, propagates on social networks, while another prominent PiS representatives. Janusz Kowalski, speaks of “the hybrid war between the EU and Poland” and calls a “boycott against the European institutions until the rule of rights is restored in Brussels and Luxembourg.”
This need to defend oneself, which has crystallized in the Polish mind, is also being translated into laws. The Polish Homeland Defense Acta, announced last Tuesday, will promote, for example, the creation of a reserve corps, the introduction of voluntary military training for young people and large salary incentives for military personnel. Kaczynski and the Polish Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blasczak, defended the establishment of a period of voluntary and paid military training for young people, which will last 28 days plus 11 months of service. At the end of that year, those who so wish will become part of a reserve corps “in the image of the United States,” said the minister, calling the law “a radical strengthening of the Polish armed forces.” Likewise, Polish citizens who so wish and take an oath may also be part of that body and perform auxiliary tasks.
The law also provides for simplifying the recruitment process for those who wish to become professional military personnel, as well as aid for the acquisition of housing, academic scholarships and preference for admission to universities. The objective is to have at least 250,000 professional soldiers and 50,000 troops in the Territorial Defense forces, a paramilitary body dependent on the Ministry of Defense that groups and trains civilians, in a country that currently has about 62,000 professional military personnel. They have just received, by the way, a salary increase of 120 euros a year.
Poland is among the NATO countries that spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense, as proposed by the Alliance at its summit in 2914, with a budget of 46,000 million euros for that chapter until 2026 and a planned increase in spending of 2.5%. Recently, Warsaw had acquired several advanced weapons contingents, such as 32 F-25 fighters and 250 M1 Abrams battle tanks. Another aspect of the new Homeland Defense Law, which according to Kaczynski will eliminate 14 other laws dating back to 1967 and which introduces no less than 720 new articles into national legislation, is the creation of an aerospace branch in the Ministry of Defense . Kaczynski, who although in the background continues to be the strong man in the shadow of the government, “strongly rejects the idea that is now fashionable, that an army should be small but well armed…. Not at all, it should be as big as possible and well armed, “he concludes,” only then will we have the power to dissuade. “