Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło told Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday (4 October) that Poland will not interfere with Spain’s domestic affairs. During the telephone conversation she advocated dialogue and compromise as the best solutions.
Polish politicians from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) sent a coherent message to Spain this week.
Government spokesperson Rafał Bochenek said: “We will not interfere in Spanish internal issues that should be dealt with in accordance with Spanish legal system. Polish government fully respects the rules of territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Spain.”
Poland’s foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, went into more detail saying that the Spanish constitution should be observed, adding that it allows secession only if referendum is accepted by central authorities and held not only in Catalonia but in the whole of Spain.
Spanish democracy in crisis?
Journalists asked Waszczykowski whether he was tempted to suggest to EU politicians that Spain is facing a crisis of the democracy, rather than Poland.
Waszczykowski replied that it he was tempted but “I won’t say that as it’s obvious. Rather I will reproach them as they had months or even years to have joined the dialogue and mediated”.
He compared the situation to the UK’s Brexit referendum campaign where Brussels was also silent. “Like in the British referendum on Brexit, the EU voice was unheard of”, adding: “the alleged face of the EU Donald Tusk didn’t take a stand”.
The foreign minister insisted that the EU Council President should “negotiate, moderate and unify, and the same now – this strife has been going on for years and it was possible to get engaged in a softer handling of it.”
Asked why the government does not allow Catalans the right to self-determination he explained: “Because it isn’t our law. It is the law of Spain.”
Commission double standards
During yesterday’s European Parliament plenary debate in Strasbourg on the Catalonian referendum PiS MEP Ryszard Legutko, co-leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, used the occasion to condemn Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the EU executive itself for hypocrisy.
“When we look at the Commission’s actions, they show selective standards of the EU. Double standards of the Commission are striking. Everyone is equal but some are more equal. If it wouldn’t be about Spain but some other member state, consequences and rhetoric on the side of Commission would be much harsher” he said.
By “some” other member state, he most probably meant Poland, given Brussels’ launching of infringement proceedings against Warsaw.
Opposition: No similarities between Warsaw and Madrid
Referring to the alleged Commission’s hypocrisy Rafał Trzaskowski, MFA in the main Polish opposition party’s (Civil Platform, PO) shadow cabinet and deputy president of EPP, said there is no similarity between Poland and Spain in this situation.
“The EU intervenes when the country violates the rule of law and constitutional system, which hasn’t happened in Spain,” he insisted.
“Despite my great sympathy towards Catalans, all the lawful arguments lie on the side of the government in Madrid that acts in line with the Spanish Constitution confirmed by the Constitutional Tribunal,” Trzaskowski, formerly a Polish MEP, said.
Poland’s second biggest opposition party, the liberal Nowoczesna (The Modern) also condemned the use of force in Catalonia. But the party also highlighted that the referendum violated the Spanish constitution.