English Section

Poland to push for EU probe into Russian influence in European politics: PM

29.05.2023 16:30
Poland will advocate for the creation of an EU commission into Russian influence in European politics, the Polish prime minister has said.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in the east-central city of Radom on Monday, May 29, 2023.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in the east-central city of Radom on Monday, May 29, 2023.PAP/Piotr Polak

Mateusz Morawiecki made the declaration at a news conference in the east-central Polish city of Radom on Monday, state news agency PAP reported.

Earlier in the day, Poland's President Andrzej Duda said he had decided to sign a disputed measure to establish a state commission for investigating alleged Russian influence in Polish politics, and called for a similar body to be created “at the European level.”

The president said he had asked Morawiecki to “raise the issue at the European Council,” which brings together the European Union’s 27 national leaders.

Asked to comment on Duda’s remarks, Morawiecki told reporters: “There hasn’t been a single European Council meeting where I didn’t mention this issue.”

He added that “every time EU leaders got together," he sought to "explain how dangerous Russian propaganda is, how skillfully the Kremlin feeds its fake news, and how it influences the electoral process in various places, even in such a powerful country as the United States.”

Polish PM to push for EU probe into Russian influence

Morawiecki told reporters that "the idea to start investigating the matter in a comprehensive, technical and professional way is a correct one.”

He said: “It is my hope that many EU institutions and countries will embrace this idea and obviously I’ll be calling attention to these Russian influences and urging that they be investigated by a special commission.”

The Polish prime minister added that such an inquiry would be "controlled by the European Parliament, the EU’s executive Commission and member states."

"There’s nothing to be afraid of, I really encourage our EU partners to investigate this issue," he said.

Morawiecki told reporters that he was in contact with Duda about the plan to establish "an EU-wide probe into Russian influences."

He said: “We discussed it and I will definitely be pushing this issue at the European Council.”

The next meeting of the European Council is scheduled for June 29-30 in Brussels, Belgium, officials told reporters. 

Probe into 'Russian influence in Poland'

Under the law signed by Duda, the panel investigating "Russian influence in Poland" will investigate “cases involving public officials and top public-sector executives who acted to the detriment of Poland's national interests, under Russian influence, between 2007 and 2022,” the PAP news agency reported.  

The commission has been tasked to "review administrative decisions, processes behind the creation, copying and sharing of information with third parties, and the management of public funds, among other areas," according to officials. 

The panel will also investigate measures taken to influence administrative decisions and the processes behind "harmful policy decisions," they said.

The commission’s powers will include the right to cancel administrative decisions "taken as a result of Russian influences," and it will also be able to ban officials from holding positions involving the management of public funds for up to 10 years, according to reports.

The panel will consist of nine members appointed by the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, who will then elect their chairman. 

After the new law comes into force, parliamentary groups will have two weeks to submit their candidates for membership of the commission, the PAP news agency reported.

'A call for truth'

Polish opposition politicians have said that the plan to establish the commission is specifically targeted at former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is the leader of the country's largest opposition grouping, the Civic Coalition, ahead of parliamentary elections in the autumn.

Ahead of Friday's parliamentary vote, MPs held a stormy debate during which the Civic Coalition’s Borys Budka called the draft law “a disgraceful and Bolshevik bill.”

Lawmakers with the opposition Third Way alliance, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and Paulina Hennig-Kloska, slammed the proposed panel as “a kangaroo court against the opposition” and called on the president to veto the legislation, according to the PAP news agency.

Meanwhile, conservative MP Łukasz Schreiber told the house on Friday that the commission was "not designed to target anyone" but represented "a call for truth, a call for us to respect and strengthen the constitution and sovereignty."

The governing conservatives have accused Tusk of having been too friendly toward Russia as prime minister from 2007 to 2014 and of making gas deals favourable to Moscow before he went on to become the president of the European Council, a top EU job that he held until 2019, Britain's The Independent newspaper has reported.

Monday is day 460 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, wpolityce.pl