Piotr Maciej Kaczyński believes that the next chairman of the Warsaw European Commission must be a political figure.
Piotr Maciej Kaczyński is a senior researcher at the Warsaw Center for International Relations, a guest trainer of EIPA in Maastricht, and a member of the Polish European team.
Ursula von der Leyen has a decision to take. Since April, the committee’s representative position in Warsaw has been vacant.
It looks like a small problem-a vacancy in a distant city. But Jean-Claude Juncker once said that his biggest regret was the inaction of the committee in the British debate before the Brexit vote.
At another historic moment, it is crucial to decide who will lead the Warsaw office. At this historical moment, the Polexit problem is about to emerge (mainly due to the rule of law and anti-European hostilities on the part of the ruling party). The committee needs to fully understand the local situation. Von der Leyen needs to learn from the mistakes of the Junker Committee.
Traditionally, the head of the committee representatives is a diplomatic mission, and their most concern is a good working relationship with the local government. Usually they are long-term staff members of senior committees or insiders of other institutions, and they have a good understanding of the views of the committee.
Sometimes these positions are ideal for experienced officials to spend years before they retire, or to “exile” in some way the general opinion of Martin Selmar, the head of the committee’s representative office in Vienna.
How is Warsaw different from other capitals? The relationship between the Commission and the Law and Justice (PiS) government is far from friendly.
When commissioners like Frans Timmermans or Věra Jourová are misled by Polish government officials on the rule of law, there is a long history of misinformation at the highest level. On other issues, there is a stable working relationship in cohesion or agriculture and even climate policy. But the rule of law stands out.
This is why the important thing is that the principal von der Leyen and her academy members can use another alternative to the narrative of the Polish government.
There are concerns that the chairman of the committee may choose to sacrifice the position of the new head of the European Community’s Warsaw office in order to strengthen his relationship with the relatively moderate Prime Minister Matteus Moravich (that is, with his predecessor, Biah Compare with Tower Zidova, or the opinion of Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro). However, this would be a mistake.
Regarding the rule of law archives, the committee chooses to be bold or moderate (Members of the European Parliament are under increasing pressure on the committee), but in either case, it is necessary to fully understand the political and legal developments within Poland. It cannot walk in the dark, nor can it be misled by Polish government officials.
In other words, the new head of the Warsaw Commission needs-to quote a member of the European Parliament discussing Borel’s visit to Moscow- ball. After the representatives leave, the shoes they have to fill in are huge.
Marek Prawda was appointed to Warsaw five years ago and is now retired. His appointment is far from usual. When PiS took over the Polish government at the end of 2015, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs (now the Ministry of Environmental Protection) Witold Vazczkowski fired many experienced diplomats, including Plau, the then Permanent Representative of Poland to the European Union. Ambassador.
In his time, Prada was an influential figure in Coreper. His rapid departure surprised many people in Brussels, including the chairman of the committee. However, Juncker quickly took action.
He assumed a new position on the Warsaw Commission for Prawda. This decision is not a sincere act. In fact, this is a bold move by the chairman of the committee against the wishes of the Polish government.
Usually, the head of the EC representative office reaches an agreement with the local capital. But the relationship between Warsaw and Brussels is not normal. There is another capital that is equally difficult, Budapest. The Hungarian government agreed with Gábor Zupkó, the head of the local European Community representative. Independent observers believe that the methods are “mixed.”
Sometimes he defended the Committee’s opposition to open anti-EU movements. However, he is also often involved in explaining Berlaymont’s Hungarian government policy, which is usually not the responsibility of committee officials.
In the past five years, the Warsaw EC office has proven to be essential for the rapid exchange of information and communication efforts to balance the partisan anti-EU movement. In the absence of active cooperation with the Polish government, the committee was still able to carry out a successful information and education campaign in the country through a network independent of Polish officials.
It has been proven that there is no room for compromise with this method. If so, the functions of the Warsaw office should be further authorized and strengthened in order to provide the required information to the headquarters and continue to work hard to debate the future of Europe with EU citizens.
In any case, it can be expected that the Office of the Commissioner will have greater political courage and demand that the Polish government assume responsibility for the conditionality of the rule of law.
In a sense, Warsaw is the last outpost of the committee. This is where the debate about European values comes from. This is where the definition is overridden. In these debates, the committee’s local offices have always been a vital voice. There is no reason to compromise this approach.
However, if the commission’s local offices are downgraded, it will dampen all pro-European Poles’ desires and will be welcomed by anti-Europeans.