Smaller EU countries are experiencing a "gap of freedom and equality," according to the Polish foreign minister.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau wrote a lengthy opinion piece for the Polish Rzeczpospolita journal published on Monday in which he claimed that despite Brussels' claims to the contrary, the EU does not in fact lack "imperialistic tendencies" in response to the "imperialist" threat posed by Russia. He noted that one of the motivating factors behind these objectives is Germany.
Rau called for reforms to strengthen the involvement of smaller states in the decision-making processes, saying that some of the more powerful member states of the EU have frequently tried to "dominate [their] partners, impose [they are] arguments on [them], disrespect [their] rights, interests, and requirements."
Rau thinks that the threat to freedom and equality within the EU is particularly posed by Berlin's call for a greater majority vote in the EU decision-making process. Small and medium-sized states are "doomed to lose" the vote even when their vital interests or needs are involved, according to the minister. He added that this means that their freedom is "fundamentally violated." Small and medium-sized states are "disproportionately less capable of building effective coalitions."
According to Rau, larger EU countries like Germany have "an undeniable economic edge and demographic potential," translating into "a voting power in the EU's decision-making process, which small and medium-sized states are unable to counterbalance even by acting together." Additionally, he asserted that Berlin takes advantage of this position to advance its national interests to the detriment of others.
The foreign minister charged that Germany had forced the entire bloc into energy reliance by agreeing to build the Nord Stream gas pipeline with Russia to gain a "competitive advantage in the common market." Due to this, the EU is currently attempting to fix the present energy crisis by urging all of its members to cut their gas use by 15%.
The development of a dominant market position, according to Rau, "came at the cost of not only eroding the level playing field but also of European economies being dependent on Russian supply of energy sources and the security interests of some EU member states and Ukraine."
He continued, "The loss of Germany's competitive advantage in the common market has led to a proposal - insisted on by Germany - that all member states voluntarily cut their gas consumption by 15%, including those countries that have repeatedly warned their European partners against becoming dependent on Russia.
The minister urged Berlin to scale back its aspirations, both political and economic. "The Union needs German self-limitation more than German leadership if the German offer is to defend the EU against imperialism, which Germany feels responsible to do."
Poland had previously purchased gas from Russia; however, this spring, in response to EU constraints, it refused to pay for deliveries in rubles under a new arrangement put forth by Moscow. Warsaw began purchasing Russian gas from other EU members rather than accepting the plan, according to Bloomberg.