Poland’s Prime Minister on Ukraine War and Energy Crisis

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DER SPIEGEL: Your old partner, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is trying to avoid taking a tough stance toward Moscow. Do you still have understanding for him?

Morawiecki: The other day, I read results from a polling institute. They show that the vast majority of Hungarians feel the same way about the war as Orbán does, whether I like it or not.

DER SPIEGEL: Because Orbán’s party controls the majority of the media in Hungary.

Morawiecki: But also no more so than the political mainstream in Western Europe controls the media there. It is difficult to have a dissenting opinion. So far, Hungary has always agreed to the sanctions. As such, I still see a foundation for cooperation.

DER SPIEGEL: Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS), to which you also belong, has always been critical of a further deepening of the EU. Has this position changed, with Europe moving closer together in the Ukraine crisis.

Morawiecki: There are areas where further integration is worthwhile, but there are also areas of ideology that create enormous tensions. In those areas, the nation states should retain their authority.

DER SPIEGEL: Are you referring to equal rights for gay people?

Morawiecki: These people have equal rights in Poland, there is no discrimination here. We are of the belief that further integration is not automatically better than diversity. One example: The northern countries want the European Central Bank to raise the key interest rate to stop inflation. Southern countries fear this could stifle their economies. What should the ECB do?

DER SPIEGEL: But Poland could agree to a defense union?

Morawiecki: We have been calling for steps in this direction for years. The Ukraine crisis has shown that the strongest guarantor of security is the U.S. If Ukraine were dependent on Germany within the framework of a European defense policy, it would no longer exist today.

DER SPIEGEL: How can the Ukraine war end?

Morawiecki: Additional sanctions will further harm the Russian economy. Putin is still able to pretend everything is fine. In a dictatorship, the rulers don’t have to care about the opinion of the people. But this system will erode in a few months. Perhaps there won’t be a revolution, but increasing pressure to end the war. For now, we have to help Ukraine get through a hard winter.

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