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Buzek – a Pole but OK

Published on July 23, 2009 by: in: Politics

Buzek would be of best service to his homeland if he could forget about the successful election straight afterwards. Jerzy Buzek is bound to raise the level of self-assessment and self-satisfaction of the Poles for the period of 36 months. His appointment as the EP chairperson flatters our national pride. The entire Parliament spoke about a historic event, the heritage of Solidarność and the end of division into Eastern and Western Europe. In fact, this is not the end but another (after UE enlargement) step towards a  very distant target yet. Distant –  not only due to the fact that ‘the new’ – with Poland at the lead – are not fully able to find their ways in the complex, abundant in intricate interrelations ‘club’.

Jerzy Buzek

Jerzy Buzek

The trouble is that Buzek  might become just a mascot, a prominent symbol of the end of the gap between two Europes. This could actually hinder the process of integration, which is more than perceptible in every aspect of life. Each argument concerning insufficient representation of the Mid-Eastern Europe’s interests in EU may be simply refuted by invoking Buzek’s case.

We spent a lot of effort on the fight for the chairperson. After months of negotiations our partners have finally agreed to the Polish candidate (Mario Mauro as a declared Catholic, for whom the European buffoon Berlusconi canvassed, had little chances for a broad support since the very beginning, especially for socialists’ support), but it is unlikely that they soon succumb to our next pressures. The price was high; whether it was worth it or not depends on Jerzy Buzek himself. It depends on Buzek, who seems to be conciliatory-minded, popular, always pertaining to the subject matter, even if not particularly famous for his political determination.

In Germany many people still do not know who Hans-Gert Poetering is; and his appointment was received with no extraordinary emotions. In Poland the whole campaign for the EP was run under the banner of Buzek. Therefore, the vote for PO became nearly a civic duty. However,  is it any good if we consider the fact that our amiable professor form Gliwice (during many months of being a candiadte to the most important function in EP) never mentioned the vision of Europe which he would like to make true as the chairperson of this organisation? The only factor that matters is his Polish identity. Enough is enough.

Sadly, a country with leadership amibitions (at least within its own EU region) cannot afford as much as pretending to understand what European interests are. The country doesn’t bother to make impression that it can, be it with hardly any conviction but at least rhetorically, take the floor to speak about matters concerning the entire EU. Without that, there is no chance to force our own postulates. Yet, here in Poland even the pro-European and liberal media couldn’t cross the charmed circle of wondering whether it is better to have Buzek as the head of EP or perhaps Lewandowski or Hubner holding an important portfolio in the Commission.

Admittedly, the function of the EP chairperson is a symbolic one; ther is no comparison with the half-dictatorial authority of the Speaker of the Polish Parliament, based on rules and regulations. Not neccessarily this must be a blame. EU, except for its economic dimension, is just a symbolic body – a project whose words, ideas and the Marxist ‘superstructure’ often remain ahead of  ‘the centre’.

On the position of the chairman, Buzek will enjoy quite a remarkable freedom of expressing his opinions. It will be the greatest benefit for Poland if he manages to define Europe taking into consideration the interests of its Eastern, discriminated against, part. The first press conference, during which he spoke about Russia and human rights in China, looks promising.

To that aim, it is neccessary to master the language of European politics, which seemed to pose a probem for our representatives – thus far, that is to say. Excluding the late lamented Bronisław Geremek. Inflecting the word ‘Poland’ by all possible cases doesn’t do good the country in question. On the contrary, it shows that we are still ‘the worse’ – the ones who cannot see past the end of their nose within the common European project. Buzek should fulfill the vision of Europe – Europe, which is united, solidary, economically liberal, caring for human rights and leading common foreign, defence as well as energy policy.

Such a Union apparently agrees with the Polish interests. Why apparently? Because since our accession 5 years ago we still have not  achieved our Polish vision of Europe. Nor have we started a serious debate over it. The only thing we were able to fight for is a bundle of separate, disconnected and incoherent aims, such as Eastern Partnership, power industry and the resistance against the set of climatic laws. However, this is not a reservation about Buzek but rather about the entire political class. The class that has not managed to accept this vital, as far as Poland is concerned, challenge. The unability in question might be caused by laziness, the lack of intellectual qualifications or  the fear of being rejected by the electorate. To put it in a nutshell, this  problem is not ours.

Article was oryginally published in Liberte.pl and was translated to english by Magdalena Jermacz.

Photo comes from Wikipedia.

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About Leszek Jażdżewski

Politologist, publicist, regular political commentator in Polish media. Editor in chief of “Liberté!”, Polish liberal socio-political journal. Studied international relations in University of Lodz, Institute of Political Studies on Polish Academy of Sciences, Glamorgan University in UK and Tbilisi University in Georgia. Vice-president of Liberal Forum, member of the council of Projekt: Polska Foundation, secretary of the board of Transport Integration Society, vice-president of Industrial Foundation. Coauthor of books: “Liberal reflections on life chances and social mobility in Europe” and “Democracy in Europe. Of the People, by the People, for the People?”

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