Poland calls for EU to show more solidarity

Polish President Andrzej Duda says the EU has not shown enough solidarity in understanding the situation of Central and Eastern European countries.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Polish President Andrzej Duda listens to a journalist's question in Budapest on March 18, 2016

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday said the European Union (EU) had shown too little solidarity with Central and Eastern European countries.

Speaking to the Polish Press Agency, Duda said, "There is not enough solidarity from the EU in understanding the situation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe."

Duda added that countries, which recently joined the EU were seeking to catch up with the rich countries of the West.

"We are seeking to raise the standard of living for young people so that they don't have to seek work abroad to have a proper salary and to live normally."

Citing security concerns, Poland is often criticised for refusing to take in refugees to be located in Central and Eastern European countries under an EU plan.

Duda also says the EU's decision-making also needed to be more decisive.

“The EU is strong, but weak on the level of decision-making and that's its problem today.

Nord Stream Pipeline

In an apparent reference to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will bring Russian gas to Western Europe, Duda also called on the EU to understand "the issues important to the sovereignty of states, such as energy policy and that of raw materials."

Poland has been critical of the project, which it claims undermines the EU in the face of Russian aggression and is also seen as a challenge to the country's coal industry.

But Duda said he, like "the great majority of Poles," valued the EU greatly.

"I support the EU as a union of nation-states that cooperates especially in the economic field, without interfering in matters that should remain in the area of ​​national sovereignty," he said.

Since the Law and Justice Party swept to power last year, relations have chilled between Poland and EU institutions.

This comes after EU expressed alarm over Polish reforms to the constitutional court and public media.