Polish central bank chief warns of German designs on Polish territory – POLITICO

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WARSAW — Poland is heading into recession, its currency losing value and inflation is among the highest in the EU, but the country’s central bank chief has other concerns.

The danger for Poland lurks in Berlin and Brussels, Adam Glapiński warned in an interview with the right-wing Gazeta Polska published on Wednesday.

Germany aims “for the recovery in one form or another of its former lands, which now lie within the borders of Poland, and the subjugation of this whole belt of countries between Germany and Russia” , Glapiński said, referring to the territorial settlement after World War II that saw some East German territories handed over to Poland. The shifting of borders has long been accepted by German governments.

He warned that Berlin’s plans were being pushed by Donald Tusk, the leader of Civic Platform, Poland’s main opposition party, and former Polish prime minister and president of the European Council.

“For a year, it has been said that the task assigned by Brussels to Tusk is not only for him to overthrow the current Polish government and put our country on the path to the eurozone,” Glapiński said. “Once these tasks have been accomplished, Tusk must return to Brussels, take over as head of the European Commission and continue an accelerated effort to build a European state.”

It’s all part of a wider plan by Berlin to exert control over the continent, warned Glapiński, a close friend of Poland’s de facto leader Jarosław Kaczyński and head of the National Bank of Poland since 2016. In a previous interview , Glapiński said, “Tusk was sent with a plan to incorporate Poland into the German European Empire.”

Tusk is not a fan of Glapiński and has vowed that if the opposition wins the next election, Glapiński would be out of a job, saying he was wrongly nominated for a second five-year term earlier this year.

“Adam Glapiński is not just incompetent. Adam Glapiński is not just indecent in what he does. Adam Glapiński is also illegal,” Tusk said at a party rally last month.

But for now, Glapiński is firmly in charge of the National Bank of Poland and he alleges that the European Commission is in cahoots with Germany and is acting against Poland’s nationalist government led by Kaczyński’s Law and Justice (PiS) party. Glapiński says that’s why the EU is not disbursing 35 billion euros in loans and grants as part of the bloc’s pandemic recovery fund.

Brussels says to get the money, Poland must follow agreed ‘steps’ and roll back changes to the justice system that were seen as bringing it under political control, but Glapiński and PiS supporters argue the Commission is making Politics.

The EU “wants to give this money to the next government”, the central banker said.

What is particularly annoying in Brussels and Berlin is that Poland is such a success story, he added.

Former Polish Prime Minister and President of the European Council Donald Tusk is not a fan of Adam Glapiński | Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images

“Having a sovereign central bank, our own money – the złoty – and our dynamic economic development are what annoy them the most,” Glapiński said. Poland agreed to adopt the common currency when it joined the EU in 2004, but the current government wants to stick with the złoty.

Economic downturn

The latest figures suggest that the Polish economy is anything but buoyant.

Poland’s statistics agency reported on Wednesday that GDP grew at an annual rate of 5.2% in the second quarter of this year, compared to 8.5% in the first quarter. A contraction of 2.3% quarter-on-quarter puts Poland at the bottom of the ranking of EU economies, according to Eurostat.

“Economic activity is slowing down. It may not be an emergency yet, but growth is noticeably slower,” wrote Zbigniew Maciąg, chief economist at the Lewiatan employers’ confederation.

The news caused the złoty to fall against the dollar and the euro. The Polish currency has fallen 14% against the dollar since the start of the year and 3% against the euro.

Maciąg predicted that the economy would continue to slow, causing problems for the central bank. It was late to start raising interest rates when inflation started to take off last year; the bank’s benchmark rate is 6.5% while annual inflation was 15.5% in July.

But the unexpected slowdown in growth means that any further rise in interest rates could deepen a recession.

“All this means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to count on further rate hikes in Poland,” Piotr Popławski, an economist at Polish bank ING Bank Śląski, told the Polish News Agency.

The lack of billions of euros from the EU, a slowing economy and high inflation all pose potential difficulties for the PiS as the party prepares for parliamentary elections next year.

With Brussels and Berlin increasing pressure on Warsaw, the stakes are high, Glapiński said.

“We have to persevere, we have to win, we have to maintain the złoty, we have to maintain a patriotic government, so that in 10 years we can sit down at the table with the Germans, the French, the Italians and all the other countries, on equal footing,” he said.

The central bank did not respond to a request for comment on Glapiński’s interview, which it posted on its webpage.

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