Polish Ruling Party Official Backpedals EU Exit Suggestion
(Bloomberg) -- A senior Polish ruling party official raised the specter of his country leaving the European Union due to an escalating conflict over the rule of law, only to distance himself from the comments a day later amid government pressure.
Ryszard Terlecki, who heads the ruling Law & Justice party’s parliamentary caucus, said Poland should think how to work with the EU in a way that’s most beneficial for the nation. His comments come after the EU’s executive asked for daily penalties for the country’s failure to respect the bloc’s court verdicts.
The escalation in long-running conflicts, over issues ranging from judicial independence and media freedom to LGBTQ rights, threatens Poland’s access to 23.9 billion euros ($28.4 billion) in grants from the EU’s pandemic stimulus plan.
“If it goes as it is likely to go, we must look for drastic solutions,” Terlecki told a economic conference in Karpacz, Poland late on Wednesday. “The British showed that the dictatorship of the Brussels bureaucracy didn’t suit them and turned away and left.”
A day later, Terlecki said: “Poland was, is and will be an EU member. Polexit is a joke created by the opposition.” He voiced hope that the “current apathy and crisis in the EU will be overcome.”
The government also played down his comments. Terlecki specifically said that Poland doesn’t want to leave the EU, government spokesman Piotr Muller said on Thursday. Following the U.K. in leaving the bloc wouldn’t be “beneficial,” but the country has to “take its stance and contest some issues,” he said.
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