As most Polish citizens can hardly fail to notice, Europe is experiencing a time of growing economic turmoil. So much so, that leaders of euro zone countries are now desperately searching for ways to prop up their tottering national economies as well as to maintain commitments to what is termed ‘monetary union’ – the euro zone holy grail.
Countries outside the euro zone also find themselves caught up by the effects of the gathering financial storm and are attempting to pitch their camps as appropriately as possible to deal with it.
But one thing that countries both inside and outside the euro zone share is a common problem of ‘debt’.
Levels of national borrowing (sovereign debt) have, over the past decade, exceeded the ability of many countries to pay back the ensuing interest and capital within permitted time zones, thus catalysing the ‘restructuring’ of these loans by the lenders and the setting of new terms for repayment. The ‘lenders’ are thus put in a position of great power: they can pull the strings and set the agenda – so long as the countries which are borrowing wish to maintain their particular monetary policies and ambitions for ‘economic growth’.
Poland, however, finds herself in a position of reasonable resilience to the euro zone storm. With an economy that is largely internally stimulated and not overtly reliant on exports, the country looks in fair shape to resist at least the worst consequences of the black hole which the euro zone is rapidly turning into.
All the more bizarre, then, is the determination of prime minister Tusk to throw his country right into the centre of the black hole, and to thereby surrender Poland’s hard-won independence to a bunch of unelected technocrats who are the puppet masters of the European Commission and its various agencies.
Donald Tusk is making a name for himself by singing the praises of the European Union at every opportunity. A few months ago he he was quoted as saying that, “The European Union is the greatest institution in the World.” He has now been joined by the foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who seems particularly keen on supporting German leadership of radical reforms to the euro zone. Tusk and Sikorski are, it seems, absolutely determined to hook Poland into the euro and ‘monetary union’ within four years – “provided the euro zone undergoes necessary reforms” (Sikorsky).
So what might these reforms be?
If Angela Merkel’s reform package does indeed become the accepted way forward, then it will mean that Brussels will have hugely increased power over the economic and fiscal affairs of euro zone countries. They will have to account to the European Commission and be open to the surveillance (and even management) of their economies, so that near-term guarantees can be made as to the credit worthiness of each country.
Tusk is gunning for just such a recipe for Poland’s future. One which “will make Europe an effective enterprise with mechanisms of internal control and discipline” (Tusk, Warsaw Voice 5 December 2011). According to this ethos Polish citizens will find themselves paying contributions not only to Brussels and Warsaw, but also into the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Under such a regime, Poland will simply become ‘a unit of administration’ in a bureaucratic spider web whose nerve centre is situated within the unelected cabal in Brussels. The danger lights should be flashing.
The European Union has already been responsible for hundreds of petty rules and regulations that make daily life more and more tedious and onerous. But they also include some very direct interference in civil liberties that strongly suggest a movement towards a totalitarian, centrally controlled Europe, where decisions will be taken without public debate – because they are unilaterally deemed “the right choice for the economy.” Such proclamations have their origins in corporate greed. A disease which stands behind all political insistence on obeying the demands of ‘market led’ monetary forces.
In Poland, these same corporate and government calls to ‘put the economy first’ are currently being used to put the squeeze on both citizens and the natural environment. Just witness the covertly calculated attempts by government to bypass vital public debate on the huge hazards presented by GMO and by hydraulic ‘Fracking’ for underground gas supplies. The Vice Minister of the Environment, Bernard Blaszcyk, recently stated: “We will do everything to assure that protests are not able to stop shale gas exploration in Poland”. Such threatening language is becoming the hallmark of institutions that appear to be moving inexorably towards dictatorship rather than democracy. The same barely veiled threat characterises Tusk and Sikorski’s increasingly strident calls for Poland to become deeply engaged in the euro zone.
But by lending support to the ‘one currency for all’ euro regime we would be selling our souls to the shadowy architects of a ‘one world government’. An institution which would, if it were allowed to manifest itself, exercise a central controlling influence over all our lives – an influence over which we would have no redress.
Already Greece and Italy have, at the blink of an eye, become the recipients of unelected technocrat leaders, whose job it is to enforce austerity measures meated out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank. When Prime Minister Papandreou stepped forward to offer the Greek government a referendum on whether they wished to accept the austerity terms of the IMF – he was viciously attacked by the architects of the euro zone. His courageous stand lasted just three days: the idea that the people should be asked their opinion on this momentous decision was smashed on the weathered rocks of the Acropolis — the birthplace of European democracy.
Polish citizens need to ask themselves just why Mr. Tusk is so keen for his country to join this unbending cabal? Just why is his government looking to the German nation to take control of the future of Europe – and therefore the future of Poland?
There are historical lessons that supposedly have been learnt – the hard way. No single country or one entity (The European Commission) should be given the authority to take a dominant role in pan-European decision making. The future freedom of our children and grandchildren demands that we never allow ourselves to become slaves to such a centralised nexus of power. And this means vigorously taking control of our individual and collective destinies in the here and now.
European nation states can manage their financial and social affairs without being dictated to by the European Commission or the German federation. In the loosely knit extended family which is Europe today, no two countries and cultures are ‘the same’ nor do they wish to be. We should celebrate this fact, because that is the beauty of our individual, yet diverse Europe. Yet the ‘fiscal unity’ medicine of the euro plan would squeeze this individuality into Orwellian conformity, turning the richness of diversity into a sterile monoculture to be overseen by faceless corporations and tunnel-vision bureaucrats.
Right now, we have a vital opportunity to cut short the advance of this monster — which is looking to wield absolute control over the democratic experiment. For Poland, this will mean citizens activating themselves to resolutely demand a public debate and referendum: on the country’s desire for — or rejection of — becoming a co-partner to a supranational technocracy that has no roots in the European tradition and no public mandate to set the rules of other nations.
Julian is a British pioneer organic farmer, writer and activist. He is currently president of the ‘International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside’ which is leading the fight against GMO in Poland. He is author of “Changing Course for Life – Local Solutions to Global Problems” www.changingcourseforlife.info