Some questions about patriotism and Europeanness

Czeslaw Ryszka

The start of the presidential campaign and then the flood brought us important information: on 13 May 2010, in the town hall in Aachen Prime Minister Donald Tusk received the German Charles the Great Prize, called the European Nobel. The laudatory speech was delivered by the German Chancellor Angela Merker, saying that the Polish Prime Minister belonged to those Europeans without who the European integration would have been only an idea but thanks to his involvement in the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon and the improvement of the relationships between Poland and the EU and Germany we had hope for stable peace and understanding. That day the German media were just to call the Polish Prime Minister ‘the father’ of united Europe and the former President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering called Donald Tusk a Polish patriot and a committed European.
following question bothers me: can anyone be a Polish patriot and a committed European at the same time?
As a Polish patriot the Prime Minister must have noticed that almost at the same time when he received the German prize in the place called Lubmin near Greifswald the construction of the German part of the North Pipeline began. This big political project, compared recklessly but rightly by Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to the Ribbentrop-Molotow Pact, despite many critical opinions and protests will be realised in two years. One must have great confidence in Chancellor Merker who said that the project was not against Poland but it was a European project. I am curious about how ‘patriotic’ Europe will behave towards Poland when the Russian gas will be delivered to Europe and for some reason Russia will treat us as it treats Belarus or Ukraine.
It is slightly more difficult to reconcile Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s patriotism and Europeanness as far as his attempt to sell the Polish shipyards to the Qatari is concerned. Although one should add that the Prime Minister got out from this oppression successfully: he concluded that it would be better to liquidate shipyards than to give them into unreliable hands. To have a good opinion in Europe the Polish government agrees to liquidate fishery and the Polish Steamship Company.
One can see that Prime Minster Tusk is not alone in his European and patriotic activities. Recently our Minister of Treasury and Minister of Finance have informed their European investors about the sale of over 670 Polish companies belonging to over 40 sectors of economy. The West called it a courageous action so that Poland could enter the euro zone. It is a pity that the alarming opinions of the Polish patriotic economists can be hardly heard in the media. They say that the sale of the strategic sectors of our economy to foreign investors will not fill up the budget hole but will increase the financial drain of Poland and put our country to the danger of ‘hostile takeover.’ They think that privatising in crisis is irrational because private companies have much worse access to capital than the countries that are more reliable partners evaluating markets in the times of crisis.
I want to add that the income from the sale of the state properties is planned to be 25 billion zloty but Minister Aleksander Grad as a true patriot and a European raises the sum, maintaining that the income reaches even 30 billion zloty. How should he be convinced that the result of mass privatisation with the contribution of international capital will mean even bigger unemployment? Last year the Minister of Treasury was stopped from selling the Warsaw Stock Exchange, which was extremely unfavourable to economy and the stock exchange itself, to the German branch investor – Deutsche Boerse.
As I mentioned the German prize for the Prime Minister has covered a little the presidential campaign. It shaded it but it does not mean that it closed the mouths of the great authorities in the area of patriotism and Europeanness. Many of them participated in the German ceremony in Aachen. Two of them joined the honorary committee of the candidate of the Citizen’s Platform just after they had returned to Poland and they became vigorously active in his campaign. The one that had opposed the burial of the late Presidential Couple in the Wawel Cathedral made an aggressive attack against the opponents of Bronislaw Komorowski, defining their campaign as ‘fight for everything, full of passions, certain domestic war of ours.’
The other, spoken to as professor, having almost all European distinctions, justifying his membership in the honorary committee of Komorowski, opposed the breeder of fur-bearing animals (hinting at Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a lover of cats) to the father of five children (the candidate of the Citizen’s Platform). His exact words were, ‘If Poland were to fall to the range of interest that Ruanda enjoys in the world it would be a better argument to choose a man who has experiences in breeding fur-bearing animals.’ It is hard to consider these statements of the members of the honorary committee as patriotic or even European. Therefore, can anyone be a Polish patriot and a committed European at all?

"Niedziela" 22/2010

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
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