Lech Wałęsa, the former Polish president, has told Deutsche Welle that the current Polish government, lead by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) is unfit for office.
“These people came to power by coincidence and are unsuited for the job; they have not been medically vetted and they suffer from complexes and are narrow-minded,” said the Nobel Prize winner in an explosive interview.
Mr Wałęsa, who turned 75 on September 29, told Deutsche Welle that he was happy with his personal legacy, but felt that Poland had taken a wrong turn.
“I have accomplished everything I ever dreamed of,” he said. “My plan was to regain freedom and introduce democracy, those were my goals. I thought that once we had democracy, everything would improve. But it turned out that we were not prepared for democracy and that we lacked the right people and programmes. We started having problems, which is also why I lost the election [in 1995]. But Poland developed well and things were looking good.
“We were successful, but now we do not know what to do with our achievement. I do not like what is happening. The politics of our current government are not good. Its assessment of the situation is accurate, but its solution is not. For example: their assessment that the courts need to do a better job is accurate, however the solutions they have chosen are bad.”
Mr Wałęsa, an electrician at the Gdansk shipyards who co-founded Poland’s first independent trade union, Solidarity, in 1980, has spent much of his adult life fighting for independence and democracy. He now sees global solidarity as a solution to today’s problems.
“We are democrats; we do not want to use violence. The government, however, is passing laws in its own interest that ignore the people and the constitution. Protests will not stop this because there are not enough people actively involved. We are currently using [European Union] processes, and we are asking Germany and other member states for support because it will be a long time until the next election. That could ruin us because the government manipulates the law and will deceive us. That is why we need global solidarity,” said Mr Wałęsa
While the former president does agree that Germany and Poland need to strengthen their ties and open more effective dialogue regarding war reparations, he does not agree that the tough stance of the current Polish government is the right way to achieve it.
“They are opening old wounds,” he says. “They are exploiting the complicated and tragic past between both peoples, and playing on anti-German sentiments. They are demagogues; they are sowing discord and inciting hatred. They are calling our accomplishments, our success into question. They are branding me and others as agents because it helps them win. They do not care what damage that causes as long as it helps them win. That is why I am unsure whether they are enemies of Poland, traitors, agents or complete fools.”
To commemorate Mr Wałesa’s birthday and the 35th anniversary of his Nobel Prize, EU leaders presented him with a framed diploma signed by them all, a gesture that was meant to celebrate Mr Wałęsa’s accomplishments. Alas, two signatures were missing: those of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his staunch ally, the Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán.
Lech Wałęsa is among the greatest ambassadors or European values 🇪🇺It doesn’t surprise me that Orbán and Morawiecki did not sign his diploma commemorating his Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because they reject our values. pic.twitter.com/0xhvF5q4ih
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) October 1, 2018