PC Press Digest

Weekly Press Digest – December 11

Political Critique's weekly selection from the Eastern European press.

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Michal Chmela’s selection

Last week fired off in style when immigrant fraudster superstar PM Andrej Babiš announced his new cabinet will lack a Minister for Human Rights, claiming the position is superfluous. Given the state of this state’s treatment of minorities, just to provide one example, one could easily see why the ones in power would love to think so – just the last UN report on human rights pointed out only around two hundred infractions in the country: treatment of the Romani, Muslims, hate-speech by politicians, homophobia, gender inequality and even racially motivated violence (shrugged off by our beloved President, may he sit on a landmine, as “mere hooliganism”) … One could clearly see where the idea comes from: appointing a Minister for Human Rights would be an admittance the issues are real. And God forbid we start treating people like people.

For further proof, look no further than another survey: this year’s Eurobarometer managed to state the obvious in a rather overwhelming way when it showed that 77 per cent of Czechs believe that a woman’s mission in life is staying at home and caring for her family and household, placing the Czech Republic at a very nice dead last place when it comes to gender equality. And it a place well-deserved, with pearls of wisdom like 83 per cent of Czechs being convinced that women base their decisions primarily on emotion firmly cementing the Czech reputation for being sexist pricks. The evil EU proposes to do something about that, naturally – but they’ll take our sexism when they pry it out of our cold, dead… Uh, arms.

And last but not the least, evil EU again: now the European Commission is trying to sue us for ignoring the immigrant quotas; how dare they suggest we fulfill our commitment as a member of the EU when we are clearly only in there for the funding? PM Andrej Babiš should know; after all he is an old hand at defrauding EU money, so he is going to explain why the whole idea was never going to work in the first place at the next EU summit. Given his talent for speaking in public, that ought to be a laugh, especially when he tries his hand at explaining just why being fined for not obeying the law is such a silly concept. One can only assume he had such a moving speech prepared for his defense at court – which now seems more unlikely than ever – he would just loath to see it go to waste.

Michal Chmela is a translator and journalist.


Roman Broszkowski’s selection

Kaczyński has made his decision. Szydło is out. Poland needs a strongman; it’s time to climb out from behind the shadows and… appoint someone else prime minister? What a headfake. We were so primed to see a Kaczyński take-over that we decided the decision over the top parliamentary job was a simple binary one. In between the “unity” and “division” hypotheticals we laid out, turns out there is a third, completely viable option. Let’s call it the “makeup” scenario.

Poland’s new Prime Minister to-be, Mateusz Morawiecki, is by all means a cosmopolitan. Every article online duly reminds us that he speaks perfect English and German as well as describes his experience as an international banker. Oo la la. Except he’s so cosmopolitan that he says things like his dream is “to make Europe Christian again.” Morawiecki isn’t some new pro-European technocrat, he just pretends to be one which is actually the whole reason he’s become Prime Minister. In contrast with the “unity” and “division” situations, “makeup”  sees the current PiS power structure as fundamentally productive and not in need of any change in order to obtain domestic support. At the same time, Poland faces a real chance of being completely ostracised within the EU if it continues to pursue the same policies that have helped it maintain that domestic popularity. The tension between those two points led Kaczyński to only change the outward appearance of PiS’ unrepentant populist nationalism. Replacing Szydło with Morawiecki is like putting lipstick on a pig; it’s still the same animal, it just looks a little different. PiS is hoping that Morawiecki might be more palatable to the EU establishment and be able to defuse the building tensions between Brussels and Warsaw without actually changing any policies. In fact the day after Morawiecki was unveiled as the new Prime Minister, PiS rammed its judicial reform bill through the legislature.  So, in other words, don’t expect the unexpected. PiS will continue to implement their nationalist agenda until it becomes domestically unpopular or the EU forces them to stop. Morawiecki is an attempt to forestall that and I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if it works.

Roman Broszkowski is an undergraduate International Politics student from New Jersey. His area of study is Eastern Europe and the Middle East.


Featured photo by Lovro Rumiha via Flickr.