Poland leaving EU climate policy would be akin to Polexit, warns Morawiecki

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The EU’s climate policy has become a core principle of the bloc and any attempt by Poland to extricate itself from it would be tantamount to leaving the European Union, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

Speaking to Jakub Wiech’s “Elektryfikacja” on Wednesday, he acknowledged the country now has a problem with a shortage of coal, but insisted this is only because the country had been “forced to close coal mines” and said it was the current liberal opposition who had urged the government to dismantle its coal production more quickly.

“It was only the crisis in late 2021 and 2022, which resulted in the reopening of several coal-fired power plants in Western Europe, which resulted in energy from coal returning to profitability for a short time,” said Morawiecki. According to the Polish premier, the “brutal” climate policy of the EU has resulted in prices for a ton of CO2 emissions again hovering around €100, meaning that coal will not be profitable for much longer. 

Morawiecki, however, was adamant that it would be a major mistake for Poland to attempt to leave the EU’s climate policies. It has become such a core policy of the bloc that any attempt to leave it would be synonymous with leaving the EU, he said. 

His words were clearly directed at those in the ruling conservative camp, such as the Solidarity Poland faction led by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, which has argued for Poland to defend its coal industry to the hilt. The Polish prime minister said this is a radical narrative that would push Poland unwittingly toward Polexit and warned he does not want to be trapped by such a narrative. Instead, he proposed that Poland continue navigating ”choppy waters to avoid the rocks” rather than get trapped and isolated. 

Morawiecki dismissed any idea that Poland could legislate to overcome the EU directive on ETS certificates. According to him, this is not possible and is being proposed in ignorance or bad faith.

The prime minister concluded his interview by saying that Poland has successfully confronted its former weaknesses in public finances and is strengthening its military capacity. He then offered Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro a backhanded compliment by saying that he hoped in the next term of conservative rule Poland could succeed in reforming the judiciary. Judicial reform is now in its eighth year and has caused much domestic and international controversy leading to repeated legislative attempts to fine-tune the reform.

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