“Whoever wants sovereignty must leave the EU,” wrote German law professor Christoph Vedder of Augsburg University in German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The German media is replete with such ideas, but in this case, the professor avoids any understatements, half-truths or niceties of EU politicians and Polish opposition activists — the same activists who have basically said the same thing as Vedder for years but always were hesitant to be so blunt out of fear of entirely scaring away voters. EU or sovereignty Professor Vedder gets right to the point: give up your sovereignty and in exchange, you may stay in the Union. If not, Article 7 will be activated in order to pursue sanctions for breaking rule of law and deprive your nation of the right to vote. Article 7 is the process that allows the EU to suspend certain rights from member states, and both Hungary and Poland are currently the targets of the procedure. Moreover, Vedder believes that the law should be interpreted differently and puts forward the idea that a country facing Article 7 procedures should not be eligible to vote in procedures against another state that is simultaneously facing such actions from Brussels. “This way, Poland and Hungary would not be able to protect each other,” he wrote, spinning his vision while also believing that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) would accept such an interpretation. Vedder stated that by wanting to preserve sovereignty, Poland and Hungary have betrayed the values of European solidarity, rule of law and freedom of media, speech and science. The German professor rages that Warsaw and Budapest have been continuously underestimating EU values and that the ECJ’s verdicts have also been systematically underestimated by them. The fact that the German Federal Constitutional Tribunal contradicted an ECJ verdict in a major case does not appear to leave much of an impression on Vedder. Of course, after the German court’s verdict, several articles conveniently appeared which claimed that the German lack of respect for the ECJ’s authority cannot be compared to the situation in Poland and Hungary.
Another expert, law professor Jan Komarek of the Copenhagen University, warned not so long time ago against the position that no ECJ rulings can be questioned in an interview for Die Welt. He explained that given such a position, the decision of the Germany’s top court would be “thrown into the same bag as what the Polish government is doing now. But this is not that simple”. Vedder, on the other hand, offers no compromise. He stated that “whoever wants to regain sovereignty, which is a politically justified wish, must leave the EU. In the case of Brexit, this was conducted ideally.” The new left Poles still have an unfavorable view of losing their sovereignty . This viewpoint was underestimated by far-left 2015 presidential candidate Janusz Palikot who claimed that he would give up Polish sovereignty to the EU if he won. While he did suffer an utter defeat, he paved the way for the new opposition. The anti-Church statements of the majority of the Polish opposition’s activists and politicians have taken up this line of thought. The voices from the West about starving insubordinate Hungarians and Poles or the threats directed at them in the case of problems with removing sovereignty, are paving another path for progressive powers. In the case of Poland, this path is for “Europeans of Polish descent”, as one of Civic Platform MP has put it. Realpolitik approach to Moscow The care which German leftist elites have for European solidarity can be seen in another article from their chosen media outlets. In May 2018, Der Spiegel published a piece which claimed that historically, Russia’s aggressive or destructive actions occurred only when it felt surrounded by the West. The article stated that Putin does not want to reconstruct the USSR but wants the West to respect Russia’s interests, stay away from its internal policy, and forbid the farther expansion of NATO and the EU. The German paper admitted that Putin wants to have his own sphere of influence. “Germany officially cannot accept this, but it would be better to acknowledge those interests. Berlin needs a realpolitik approach when it comes to Moscow,” the article read. The beautiful words on European solidarity, rule of law, and respect for our differences seem to have vanished when it comes to a country like Russia. Only realpolitik remains. Does this mean we should abandon the EU? No, we must fight for it. We must change it, so that through the use of just a few words we won’t be changed into a country which can be subjugated based entirely on “realpolitik.”