Polish Ambassador to Ireland says Polexit is 'a myth'

Polish Ambassador to Ireland says Polexit is 'a myth'

Polish Ambassador, Anna Sochańska, said that the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki  (pictured) "didn't have a choice" in asking the constitutional tribunal to rule on the Polish Constitution. Photo: AP/Olivier Matthys

The Polish Ambassador to Ireland has denied that the state is preparing to leave the EU.

Speaking exclusively to the Irish Examiner Anna Sochańska, says any mention of 'Polexit' is misinformed, but defended the government's decision to challenge the supremacy of EU legislation. Earlier this month, Poland’s constitutional tribunal ruled that some EU laws are in conflict with the country’s constitution.

The ruling, which was sparked by a request by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, said some provisions of EU treaties and EU court rulings and EU institutions “act beyond the scope of their competences”. The ruling has sent shockwaves through Brussels, where tensions with Poland have been high for a number of years amid ongoing disagreement over the state's near total ban on abortion and other issues.

"The government is not planning, for sure, to leave the European Union," Ms Sochańska said.

"There is no intention whatsoever for Poland to leave the European Union. Unfortunately, there is a political game going on in Poland. 

Some people, they use this expression 'Polexit', but it's not the case, it's a myth.

"Look at the Polish society and they have over 80% of people who support Polish membership of the European Union, so any government which decides to leave the European Union would be a government which is suicidal."

The ambassador added that the Tribunal found that European Union is based on the principle of conferral, with some competencies left as responsibilities of the national state. "The tribunal set that primacy of the Polish law in the Polish Constitution."

Ms Sochańska noted that candidates for the French presidential election, such as Michel Barnier, have also questioned the primacy of EU law.

"People would like to see Poland as a sovereign country, of course, with some competences that were transferred on the EU level, like trade etc.

"Now, if the European Tribunal now says that Polish Constitution is not important, and that the judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal is more important than the Polish Constitution, it means that we are losing our sovereignty."

The ambassador added that the Polish Prime Minister, "didn't have a choice" in asking the court to rule on the Polish Constitution. "It's this narrative that Poland wants to leave the EU. Poland doesn't want to leave the EU, people see how much they benefit out of the EU membership," she said.

LGBTQI+ issues

The ambassador also defended Poland's recent near-total ban on abortion and disputed the existence of LGBTQI+ zones in some Polish towns.

"We have a provision in the Constitution that marriage is a union of a man and a woman," she added.

"People say we discriminate against gay people, you cannot say so because the Polish Constitution is the highest possible document in Poland and is the will of the people.

"If one day, Polish people decide that they want to have one-sex marriages, they will elect people such politicians who will start the debate on the change of the Constitution.

"Then, one day we might have another provision in our constitution. For the time being, it is the will of the nation of the majority of the nation."

In Poland, around 100 towns and regions have passed resolutions declaring themselves free of "LGBT ideology" to much international criticism. These resolutions which are mostly symbolic and unenforceable, have been condemned by human rights organisations.

"There are no LGBT-free zones in Poland," Ms Sochańska said, adding that the administrations in these regions are "the lowest level" of government and "are very independent".

"It's in accordance with the Polish Constitution, and with the traditional model of Polish family."

The ambassador said she "absolutely rejects" that Poland is becoming less progressive under the (PiS) and that media coverage of Poland has been one sided.

"The law on abortion is very rigid," she said. "In Poland, the life starts when it's conceived. Then the media creates the picture of Poland, that I don't know, honestly sometimes.

"If I only read the Irish press or news from RTÉ, I would be afraid to go back to Poland.

"Whenever I read about Poland, I read about authoritarian state nationalistic government, but those people they were elected by ordinary citizens and they didn't form the government because they are authoritarians, they were elected by millions of voters. So this is their legitimate right to be conservative."

Abortion without Borders, an initiative which supports women in crisis pregnancies in Poland and abroad, says it helped 17,000 people access abortion in the first six months after the Polish constitutional court ruling.

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