Fr. Cezary Chwilczyński talks with a German politician Hans-Olaf Henkel – an MP for the European Parliament, an academic lecturer, a publicist

FR. CEZARY CHWILCZYŃSKI: - How do you evaluate what is happening in the context of the attacks on Poland from the perspective of the European Parliament?

HANS-OLAF HENKEL: - It is not the role of the European Union to interfere into the inner issues of Poland. What is more, this situation proves that every political union will lead to serious political conflicts. The common market unites people, whereas the idea that the sovereign nation should be ‘supervised’ by European politicians, will arouse a strong resistance towards the European Union. Poland is not a real problem for Europe. The Union is struggling with serious challenges connected with the migration crisis, the crisis of the euro sphere and the Russian aggression towards Ukraine. The attacks on Poland are caused by various reasons, among the others, inability of the Civic Platform to agree with the loss of authority, dissatisfaction of some citizens about the new government, which is conservative.

- How should the Polish authorities behave towards these attacks? Martin Schulz and a commissioner Gunther Oettinger strongly criticize Poland in Brussels and Angela Merkel restraints from expressing her opinion…So, what strategy should the Polish government and the president take?

- I am not going to teach the Polish government how it should behave. The debate in the European Parliament proves that the prime minister Beata Szydło knows very well what she must do. Undoubtedly, it was a great success of the Polish cabinet. It does not lie in the interest of Berlin to alienate Poland in such a difficult time for the Union, therefore Angela Merkel restraints from expressing her opinion. During the debate in the European Parliament, I asked Martin Schultz to apologize to Poles for hurting statements. And Schultz, as well as Oettinger should remember that Germany owes a lot to Poland, as thanks to Solidarity the Berlin wall collapsed and millions of the Germans regained freedom. However, I am only worried by the fact that some Polish politicians and commentators are attacking Germany for unreasonable opinions, shared only by few German politicians. I strongly believe that good Polish-German relations are extremely important and I hope that during the nearest years they will develop. Can somebody question the whole good done by John Paul II together with cardinal Ratzinger? This Polish-German duet should be inspiration for us to build a real partnership between Poland and Germany.

- Why does the European Commission take actions connected with the changes in the public media in Poland?

- Undoubtedly these are political actions. Nevertheless the constant desire for authority among people in Brussels is a problem, and this is only one of examples. If subsidiarity is the leading principle of the Union, then we will avoid similar problems. I will only remind that the principle of subsidiarity is very important in the Catholic social teaching. We cannot forget about it.

- Attacks on Poland cause the increase of euro- skepticism in our country. Citizens of Central-Eastern Europe do not want Brussels to decide about many aspects of their life. How do these actions of the European Commission influence Poles’ opinion – that is, the Europeans of EU managed centrally?

- The more engagement in the inner issues of EU countries, the more euro-skepticism. The European Union should not and cannot change into the European Federation. It would be catastrophic for us. The case of euro, the common currency shows the best that ‘one size does not fit everybody’. The economic crisis is caused by the unitary currency, too weak for Germany, and too strong for the south of Europe. Democracy is checked the best on the level of nations. National countries are not a relic of history, regardless of what influential leftist intellectualists proclaim on this issue.

- Do attacks of German media on Poland reflect the Germans’ moods?

- Undoubtedly, when somebody watches German media, may be concerned. Nevertheless, we should not forget that at present, after the lack of information on attacks on women in Koln and other German cities, they are also struggling with the problem of confidentiality. I also think that media do not present opinions of most Germans.

- Germany has accepted over a million of refugees. The vice-chief of the European Commission Frans Timmermans has recently revealed in an interview for a Dutch TV that 60 per cent of migrants, who has recently arrived in Europe, are people who do not reserve the status of a refugee. What is your opinion on the German policy ‘Willkommen’ in this context?

- Since the beginning I have had a very critical attitude to the actions of Angela Merkel in this issue and to ‘Willkommenpolitik’. The policy taken by the German chancellor is very irresponsible and Germany and Europe cannot follow this way any longer. My Party ALFA, pointed to necessity of retreating from undertaken actions and CSU, and even some influential German judges appealed against the ‘Willkommenpolitik’.


„Niedziela” 7/2016

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: