Daniel Kawczynski MP and Przemek de Skuba Skwirczynski: How Brexit is inspiring the Eurosceptic movement in Poland

Daniel Kawczynski MP and Przemek de Skuba Skwirczynski: How Brexit is inspiring the Eurosceptic movement in Poland

The result of the Brexit referendum has caused ripples across the continent with many EU members beginning to consider retrieving their sovereignty from Brussels. With the economic forecasts, previously kept artificially low to suit the “Project Fear” narrative, now corrected upwards and the FTSE 100 and 250 close to all-time highs, many countries on the continent are waking up to the fact that life outside the EU does exist. Yet, despite this tectonic shift in sentiment, the sclerotic European Union still does nothing to convince its members not to cash their chips.

Brussels, with its strings pulled by Berlin, acts as if the newer EU members could be simply beaten into submission, given that they still are net beneficiaries of EU redistribution policies. However, Poland – along with the other Central European countries which acceded in 2004 – is due to become a net contributor to the EU coffers, perhaps even as soon as this year. This prospect, along with increased bullying from the Eurocrat commissars, has led to the naissance of Euroscepticism in Eastern EU states, which has been reflected in the election of Eurosceptic politicians across the whole region.

As a freedom-loving and enterprising people, British Poles are no novices to Euroscepticism, with significant participation by the Polish diaspora in the Brexit campaign through a Polish arm of Vote Leave called Poles for Britain. It is therefore saddening to see a narrative presented in some media, attempting to use the Poles as a political football to support the ex-Remainers’ claim of a sudden emergence of mass-scale anti-Polish racism across the UK.

Of course any violence is to be condemned but we must get this into perspective. The vast majority of Poles in the UK live happy, peaceful lives side by side with their British neighbours. The United Kingdom has been home to the Polish diaspora for well over a century now and generations upon generations of Polish immigrants have managed perfectly without the extra layer of Brussels bureaucracy.

The spirit of Solidarity, responsible for the dismantling of the Communist bloc from within, and of course heartily supported by the great Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, seems to be alive again in Poland. This time the Polish nation is struggling against the invasive tactics applied by Brussels rather than Moscow; yet with the election of the euro-realist Law and Justice (PiS) government in 2015, the sentiment of the nation is very apparently opposite to the euro-enthusiasm surrounding Poland’s EU accession referendum of 2003. So a debate about the merits of EU membership has at last started in Poland and we are very supportive of that development.

The Polish Sejm (the lower house of Parliament) now also has an All-Party Parliamentary Euro-realist Group which is tasked with assessing the true costs and benefits of Poland’s EU membership. Having recently worked with Vote Leave, who did such a great job in getting to the bottom of the true cost of Britain’s EU membership and then publicising this to enlighten the British people, we feel it is our duty as members of the Polish diaspora to share our experience with like-minded Polish politicians and activists. We are therefore embarking on a trip to meet Polish Eurosceptic parliamentarians in Warsaw at the end of October and we are hopeful that true cooperation will be established to further benefit the British-Polish special relationship.

Aside from helping to stimulate the much-needed debate in Poland, we intend to highlight other subjects which may have been overlooked in the Polish media due to incessant hounding by Brussels. One such area is the recent elevation of Jean-Claude Juncker’s brainchild of an EU army to official EU policy, which Britain wholeheartedly rejects, given the threat this poses to global security by undermining NATO. Despite the fact that Poland and the other Visegrad Group countries (Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) initially came out in support of this common military force, we are hoping to persuade our partners to instead invest more in NATO and their own armies rather than give away even more sovereignty to an unaccountable foreign body which is progressively more at odds with their national interests.

It may be too early to declare that there will be a ‘Polexit’, and perhaps the Polish nation may not wish as yet to leave the European Union, but it is crucial to open up the public debate and reach the man in the street with an honest cost-benefit analysis of Poland’s EU membership. After all, the independence campaign achieved the seemingly impossible in delivering the will of the British nation against all the odds. Just as we achieved it in the United Kingdom, so too may it yet be done in Poland.