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    A new European alliance. Moving forward with Poland's involvement

    A new European project is emerging before our eyes. It is partly linked to the European Union and to some extent competes with it. Its features include an open market for people and goods and mutual military assistance. Such a project has been proposed by Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, and he would like to base it on Poland and Ukraine and the Baltic States, and in the future on Turkey. The project could meet with the support of the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.

    The war in Ukraine has shown that dreams of peaceful coexistence between Russia and the European Union and its neighbours have lapsed. Whatever the outcome of the war, Russia is in for a profound change, but this process could take years. It will be a period of extraordinary military and economic threats to our continent. 


    The war in Ukraine has also conclusively demonstrated the European Union’s weaknesses and, to a large extent, discredited it. The Union has shown that the values proclaimed by its leaders are a façade for the particular interests of individual states and politicians. The lack of real aid for Ukraine, the blocking of sanctions that are harmful to Russia, the leaders of the largest EU countries making pacts with a criminal and the violation of their own arms export bans on Putin’s thugs are all reasons why today’s platitudes about common values can only cause embarrassment to many residents of EU countries and justifiable anger among Ukrainians. 


    At the same time, the largest EU countries – Germany, France and Italy – are limiting Ukraine’s integration with the EU. Telling Ukrainians in the current situation that this integration can take another 15 years is a form of cruelty that only cynical bullies hoping to return to business with Putin can afford. Besides, the scale of the corruption of politicians and journalists in the old EU countries with Russian money is probably much greater than has been revealed. Putin has bought heads of government, ministers, parliamentarians and members of the judiciary system. Recent publications by the magazine Libération have shown how susceptible representatives of the CJEU were to corruption. It is inconceivable that Moscow would not take advantage of such an opportunity. 


    We will notice more and more embarrassments, and the fact that the only real sanctions were imposed by Brussels on Warsaw, which is the most committed EU country to helping Ukraine, will go down in history as a disgrace for this institution. The sanctions were formally imposed on Poland for attempting to reform the judiciary system, which had not been changed since the Soviet occupation. Interestingly, the reforms were introduced following the example of EU countries. In fact, the attacks on Poland were aimed at changing the government and returning to a semi-colonial policy of dependence on major capitals, particularly Berlin. 


    Not everyone, regarding Ukraine, behaved in the same way as most EU countries. Polish aid to Kyiv exceeds all the aid from Germany, France and Italy put together. The small Baltic states have also given a huge amount of aid when you compare that aid proportionally to their GDP. 


    Europe is helped by the Atlantic community


    While the EU is historically disgraced, the assessment of NATO is completely different. The militarily-strongest countries of the Alliance (apart from France): the US, UK, Canada and Poland, are maximally committed to helping Kyiv and are introducing real sanctions on Moscow. This situation can be summed up as Putin’s regime being fed by the largest EU countries Germany, France and Italy, and hurt by the strongest NATO countries. This creates a permanent division that will be increasingly accentuated by the millions of Ukrainians migrating to Europe. 


    The strength of the growing Ukrainian diaspora in Europe and North America cannot be underestimated, as it shows great solidarity and a high degree of organisation. Russian emigration, which, apart from radical groups, wants nothing to do with the Kremlin’s current policy, is behaving in a completely different way. Hundreds of thousands of young men are fleeing Russia for fear of being called up to the army. According to various estimates, up to 4 million people may have left the country ruled by Putin in recent months. They are less visible to us because they are fleeing primarily to Asian countries, as well as to Georgia, Turkey, etc. 


    The division between the Atlantic core and the EU core is creating a new world political structure that is beginning across the middle of our continent. 


    Ukrainians want a return to a multinational republic


    Already after the outbreak of Russia’s war with Ukraine in 2014, when I travelled around various cities of our neighbour, from Lviv through Zhytomyr and Kyiv to the towns of eastern Ukraine, I heard from the Ukrainian elite a longing for a return to the multinational Commonwealth. These voices surprised me because, as the author of the book “Testament of the First Polish Republic,” the only book of mine translated into Ukrainian, I thought I might encounter incomprehension or even fear of a return to “Polish domination”. This is what Russia is still threatening to do today, just as it is trying to deter Poles by recalling the crimes of the Ukrainian nationalists during the Second World War. 


    Meanwhile, Ukrainians associate a close alliance with Poland, with the restoration of old political, economic and even cultural ties, with rescue from Russian invasion, and with a road to Europe and the western world. It is true that at the level of government, the pro-German option won out, but this was the result of the actions of Tusk and Sikorski, who wanted to bring Ukraine under the mechanism of German-Russian influence (the same they had wanted to do concerning Poland). It was only the outbreak of full-scale war that finally reversed Kyiv’s hopes of an alliance with Germany. 


    Today, it is difficult to find a Ukrainian, let alone their politicians, who would not hide their disappointment with German policy and gratitude to Poland. The abolition of customs barriers for a year by the EU for Ukraine facilitates economic integration with Poland, which is anyway additionally forced by the closure of other trade routes and the multi-million emigration to our country. 


    The question is what will happen next year. It seems that Poland will not be able to agree to reinstate customs duties for Ukraine. This will be a critical moment when we will be faced with a serious choice. This little-noticed issue is becoming so important that it may decide not only the fate of Ukraine and Poland but also the new geopolitical configuration of the world. 


    Great Britain: “Let us create a new Union”


    This historic moment was noticed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His proposal to create a strong integration of London, Kyiv, Warsaw and the Baltic countries is a way forward in the face of the European Union’s lack of decisiveness, or in fact its credibility. Together, these states could have up to one-third of the EU’s potential, a potential that has stopped growing and could make the EU, in the face of global competition, an anachronistic organisation. 


    The project is likely to meet with the goodwill of the US and Canada, as well as their allies such as Australia and perhaps Japan. Johnson also spoke of Turkey, but here there would have to be more reevaluation in foreign policy. Ukraine possesses about 20 per cent of the world’s minerals, this collection includes gold, silver, copper, nickel, iron, coal, oil, gas and even tantalum or uranium. It is also one of the world’s largest grain producers. The only possible Eurasian routes lead through Poland and Ukraine. Despite the devastation of the war, this region – if well invested in – could become the fastest-growing region in the world. We just need to create the opportunity. If the EU does not want to give it, the United Kingdom, the United States and their allies will take it. The question is what Poland should do.


    The two-speed Union or separate ones


    In the long run, it is impossible to integrate with Ukraine without admitting it to this organisation. This, however, seems to be blocked by Berlin and Paris, which openly agree to divide Ukraine, only to return to business with Putin. Such a policy will soon pose a mortal threat to Poland. 


    On the other hand, thanks to the abolition of customs duties, Ukraine is already partially integrated into the EU. We have interconnected power lines. We are building a common gas and oil supply policy. Cooperation is expanding into other industries. In a year, it will simply no longer be possible to detach Ukraine from these ties based on ‘here is the EU, the others are there.’ 


    The UK, despite Brexit, has also retained a network of ties with the EU. This may foster a new European project in which the EU will turn into a large free trade area without a significantly central role. Exactly the opposite of what Paris and Berlin are proposing today, namely super-states. The problem is that they may not agree to this, and probably won’t.


    Perhaps the solution would be a two-speed Union. That is a large free trade area that would include the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and, in the event of further changes, even Belarus. The United States, Canada and their allies would be closely integrated into this zone. Within this zone, a closer integration could be created for those interested, probably within the framework of former Carolingian Europe. 


    This is the optimal option for Poland. Of course, two unions could form on our continent instead, and it is Poland that will have to decide in the short term what to do next. 


    What do we get from the Union?


    With such decisions, it is always necessary to make a profit and loss account. What have we gained from joining the EU? Money and a free market. What do we lose from the EU? A large part of our sovereignty, plus we have more and more problems resulting from attempts to impose domestic and economic policies on us. So let us keep what we can of the positives and resign from what hinders us.


    There was no choice before the war. Now there is. In a few years, Poland will be a net contributor to the EU. In reality, we would not receive any money. If we submit to Berlin’s dictates, we become net contributors overnight. The new project should therefore preserve the freedom of economic movement and stop paying into the EU, or at least significantly reduce these payments. 


    We should certainly stay as far away as possible from the idea of a superstate. Such a Union will come into being either formally or actually. Whether we will regard it as two organisms or as one, perhaps it is only a question of image and form. We are at a point where we cannot stop and wait. We have to act and look for the benefits of this situation.



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