Sept 9, 2011 Krynica, Poland (AFP) – spacewar.com
The creation of a united armed forces for the European Union could give Brussels superpower status to match that of Washington, Poland's opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told AFP Friday.
"I want Europe to be a superpower," Kaczynski said in an interview at the Krynica Economic Forum in southern Poland, while on the campaign trail ahead of a general election on October 9.
"I'm a eurorealist and I support a stronger Europe, especially in the political-military aspect," Kaczynski added, in an apparent pre-election drive to ditch his eurosceptic image.
The 62-year-old identical twin of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski, who died in an April 2010 air crash in Russia, governed in tandem with him as prime minister in 2006-2007.
He gained a reputation as a strident eurosceptic after a string of rows with Brussels.
"A political centre which has at its disposal certain means vis-a-vis external forces would make Europe a real superpower and I would really want this," Kaczynski said.
"Europe should have a political centre, but equipped with armed forces this political centre could be an equal partner for the United States and we must not forget China or India."
Asked whether he supported military integration among EU states, Kaczynski replied: "Yes, but under the condition that it will be on the level of a very powerful army and not that we create some kind of corps or brigades or other such laughable initiatives."
"No European state alone is capable of being a superpower -- and so it's clear -- I mean Russia too. Nor are France and Germany together because they are just too small," said the conservative opposition leader, known for his combative and mistrustful stance towards Moscow.
"Just look at the difference in how Russia views those who don't have this kind of strength -- here I mean the EU -- and those who do have it, for example the US," Kaczynski observed.
Turning to the economy, the opposition leader, who has long shunned Poland's entry into the eurozone, slammed the 17-member single currency club for balking at input from candidate states in finding a cure to its debt woes.
"The creation of a two-speed Europe is paving the way towards the European Union plunging into another crisis and to this we say an emphatic No!," Kaczynski fumed.
In a rare show of solidarity with the centrist government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Kaczynski derided as "disrespectful" Brussels' exclusion of Poland as current EU president from eurozone crisis talks.
"We're not happy about that, even though they are our political rivals," he said, adding that he saw Poland's eurozone entry nowhere on the horizon.
"We've been very careful and now with the crisis we are even more careful. It's my opinion that we can't give any realistic target date whatsoever," he stressed.
Under its 2004 EU entry deal, Warsaw is obliged to adopt the single European currency but has no fixed deadline to do so.
In light of the crisis, Poland has said it will meet Maastricht Treaty criteria for eurozone entry by 2015 but has refused to set any target entry date.
His right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party scored a weak 29 percent voter popularity compared to 46 percent support for the centrist Civic Platform (PO) of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, according to an opinion poll published this week by the independent Warsaw-based TSN OBOP pollsters.
Poland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, joined NATO in 1999 and the EU five years later, after being the first Soviet-bloc state to negotiate a bloodless end to communism in 1989.