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Those far-off countries that look to Britain in vain

Posted by Helen Monday, August 23, 2004

Who wrote this:

The direction in which France and Germany are dragging us is defined by three orientation points: a stagnant economy model, anti-US foreign and defence policy, and a sense of supremacy stemming from anti-US ideology that invites cultural dictatorship. We should resist.
No, it was not one of the blog editors, though we are, naturally, very pleased to hear our own views being echoed in unexpected places. This comes from an article by a Polish journalist who also holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Krakow and has been described as "an intellectual euro-sceptic".

Last week Janusz A. Majcherek published a long article in the leading Polish daily Rzeczpospolita in which he argued that France and Germany were taking Europe in the wrong direction and creating entirely the wrong kind of European Union, politically and economically.

Poland, he thought, could not and should not go along with the already excessive regulation and bureaucracy that had been imposed by the Franco-German axis or with the developing ideas of a uniform tax system and labour market regulations.

Nor can Poland, as a former Communist country go along with the insane anti-Americanism, which, he notes acutely, has

become not only a binding force cementing diverse groups, but also a new religion with many followers and fundamentalist fanatics.
Then he raises a peculiarly East European point:

We can forget the ideological angle as Poles will never convert to anti-Americanism. Our security is an issue, however. The crises in the Balkans and Iraq have given us reason to doubt the reliability of our two European allies who were reluctant to step into action and eager to consult with Russia. The Franco-German tendency to negotiate European security policy with Moscow should serve as a permanent warning for Poland and an argument in favour of tightening the political and defence alliance with the United States.
How true. Indeed, I am so impressed by the arguments that I shall not be churlish enough to remind Mr Majcherek that some of us warned East European politicians, diplomats, journalists and others that this is what the European Union was about and suggested that they think very carefully before agreeing to enter it. Of course, as they pointed out, with some justification, they had few choices with the EU refusing to negotiate any other possible agreement.

The problem with Mr Majcherek's article is the solution he proposes. Poland, and, by implication, other East European member states should form a tight alliance with the United Kingdom, whose economic and political stance is much closer to that of the former Communist countries. If only!

Mr Majcherek should have a closer look at the policies promulgated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Alas, he should also look carefully at Mr Blair's attitude to the Common European Defence and Security Identity. He is all in favour of it, though, to be fair, he probably has not realized what it would mean as far as this country's relationship with the USA and membership of NATO concerned.

The East European countries have looked to Britain for help and support since the collapse of the Soviet empire. They did not receive it, as both Mr Major and Mr Blair were more concerned with promoting European integration.

Then, as the last stages of the enlargement negotiations were conducted there was talk of a possible new group being formed in the European Parliament.

It was then well-known that many of the new MEPs from the incoming member states would have eurosceptic views. A plan was put together whereby the Conservative Party would leave the EPP-ED and, together with like-minded East Europeans and some more sceptical West Europeans form a completely new, potentially powerful eurosceptic group. We understand that plans had been drawn up and negotiations started. However, Michael Howard issued his order that the Conservative Party should rejoin the basically Christian-Democrat and federalist EPP-ED and after some grumbling all the Tories obeyed. The East Europeans were abandoned again. They had no choice but to join the EPP-ED themselves or scatter among some of the other groups.

It is a sign of irrepressible optimism that Janusz A. Majcherek can still propose that the solution to the EU is a close alliance between Poland and Britain.