European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union address to the European Parliament on Wednesday conceded that the EU as a whole should have listened to those who knew Russia and Putin best.
“We should have listened to those within our Union from Poland, the Baltic states, and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe,” she told the chamber in Strasbourg.
It was the Law and Justice (PiS) government which between 2005 and 2007 warned the EU about Russia’s potential gas blackmail, as the country had already suffered some negative experiences with its gas supplies from that direction. After 2015, our government warned both the EU and Germany that Nord Stream was an attempt to bypass Ukraine and make it more vulnerable to attack.
We also warned that the EU’s climate policies were making many EU states more dependent on Russian gas and enriching the Russians with resources they could use to rearm. After the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, we warned that Putin would not stop. Our pleas fell on deaf ears as Germany and France insisted on doing business with Russia.
We did more than just warn of course. We finished the construction of the LNG Terminal in Świnoujście, built interconnectors with Slovakia and Lithuania, and constructed the Baltic Pipe gas line. This is why we were ready when Putin unilaterally broke off a contract and turned the gas off for Poland. We had the reserves and import capacity to offset that loss. It is Germany, who ostentatiously reneged on energy solidarity by building the Nord Stream pipelines, which is now in trouble as the Russians are using their gas supply to blackmail Europe.
Since Poland was right on Russia and Putin, and prepared for the consequences of his aggression, maybe it is also right on other EU matters?
Poland is today the central and focal point for assisting Ukraine and its people, so is it not time to stop sanctioning and imposing fines on it? These sanctions are weakening Poland and giving succor to Russia.
Maybe it is also time to listen to Poland on how to deal with the energy crisis, by lowering electricity prices via the by suspending trade in emission certificates for two years, or at least fixing a maximum price for them? It may also be worth listening to Poland on capping the prices on hydrocarbons from Russia so as to limit Putin’s income for his war.
It is a pity that Ursula von der Leyen is not listening to Poland on these matters. Let us hope it does not end with another State of the Union address next year in which she will have to admit again that she should have listened to Poland on these issues too.