“Only fools think that politicians in Berlin and Brussels are actually worried about the Polish Constitutional Court or national media outlets,” writes Mariusz Staniszewski in Wprost. The front page of the Polish weekly newspaper compares EU leaders Guy Verhofstadt, Martin Schulz, Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker and Günther Oettinger to the Axis powers. For the columnist, EU pressure on the Polish government apparently regarding its slide towards authoritarianism is really about “the billions of euros that will now stay in Poland or continue to flow towards Germany or France.” Europe's leaders are spooked not so much the measures they have loudly criticised, but rather by “three projects that the PiS announced in its campaign and that it is currently working on.” These are, Staniszewki adds, “the tax on financial institutions, on hypermarkets and the lowering of tax on revenue. The introduction of these measures will mean that the flow of money leaving Poland will dry up enormously,*“ since most banks, insurance companies and hypermarkets are foreign owned. Staniszewski goes on to accuse Germany of de facto dominance of European politics, and Angela Merkel of
having become so powerful that she has been able to influence government change in Rome, Athens and Madrid. This is a situation largely fulfilling German desires stretching back centuries. It resembles the project of Kaiser Wilhelm II in September 1914. After the beginning of the First World War, when Germany expanded its territory remarkably, the Kaiser presented a plan which sought among other things to create an economic space encompassing France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria-Hungary, Poland, Norway and of course Germany. A customs union rather than a political one, ruled by Berlin. The Kaiser also envisaged that Poland and the Baltic countries would be pulled away from Russia's sphere of influence. This plan, with a few amendments, is now being put in place, and Berlin has an extra tool to exert pressure: EU bureaucracy. In principle, EU institutions should prevent a single country – Germany of course – dominating the continent. In fact, they have given the most powerful country the ability to exert yet more pressure on the others.