Germany accused of turning EU into ‘Fourth Reich’
Poland’s deputy prime minister has accused Germany of trying to create a Fourth Reich, claiming it’s taking advantage of the European Union to deprive other nations of sovereignty and force them into a modern form of “serfdom.”
Speaking of Poland’s current standoff with the EU over an ongoing judicial dispute on Friday, Deputy PM Jarosław Kaczynski told a local newspaper that some states “are not enthusiastic at the prospect of a German Fourth Reich being built on the basis of the EU,” arguing that Berlin has abused the bloc’s legal mechanisms to deprive his country of its “right to self-determination.”
“If we, as Poles, agreed to such contemporary serfdom, we would be degraded in various ways,” he said, adding that if Poland followed the EU’s approach to economic and energy policy, it “would mean that our citizens would be poorer in a few years than they are now.”
Kaczynski’s remarks came soon after the EU initiated legal action against the Polish government, accusing it of skirting European laws and regulations. Two previous decisions in Polish courts ruled that the country’s own laws take primacy over the EU’s, a position rejected by the bloc, which insists member states are obligated to follow its rules.
However, the deputy PM also hedged his “Fourth Reich” comment, stating he did not mean to liken Berlin to the genocidal Nazi regime led by Adolf Hitler.
“This term – the Fourth German Reich – is nothing reprehensible,” he said. “It is not about the Third Reich, but a reference to the first.”
While he did not elaborate further, the minister may have been referring to attempts at political consolidation that occurred under the Holy Roman Empire – which, despite its name, was largely made up of German states – or what’s informally known as the “First Reich.”
Nonetheless, Kaczynski maintained that Berlin is now attempting to dominate the bloc’s Court of Justice in order to subordinate other member states to its will.
“The court is the basic tool used in this action,” he said, adding that the body is “limited by nothing” and can therefore “freely interpret European law and draw usurping conclusions from it. And so it does.”