His crossing of the desert lasted less than four years. Since his election to the European Parliament in May 2019, Radoslaw Sikorski, 57, a former Polish foreign minister, has returned to the political scene with a message focused on Europe. “The challenge facing us in this crisis is whether we will be a center of power on the world stage or whether we will end up as subcontractors or vassals”, said the former minister, confined to his mansion in the village of Chobielin in northern Poland.
On both sides of the Atlantic
In June 2015, Radoslaw Sikorski, then president of the lower house of the Polish Parliament, resigned, four months before the victory of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) in the legislative elections. The former head of Polish diplomacy even let go of his mandate as a deputy to step back. Between his duties as a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University and the chairmanship of the board of directors of the industrial park of Bydgoszcz, his hometown, Radoslaw Sikorski has distanced himself, cultivated his network on both sides from the Atlantic and recounted his experience of seven years at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a book published in October 2018.
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The political animal quickly resurfaced, both within the Civic Coalition (KO, center right), formed in 2018 in Poland, and the European People’s Party (EPP). Former Minister of Defense then Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2014, he strongly opposed the current government, whose “Violations of the Polish Constitution and European treaties”. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling PiS party, says he wants to turn Poland into a “Catholic State” modeled after “Franco’s Spain”. Radoslaw Sikorski claims to be “Modern conservatism”.
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A native of Bydgoszcz in Pomerania, Radoslaw Sikorski experienced the slow erosion of Polish communism as closely as possible, under the leadership of Wladyslaw Gomulka and Edward Gierek. At Ludwik-Warynski High School, he sang the Internationale to improve his grades. In the narrow family apartment, his father falls asleep while listening to Radio Free Europe. In the summer, his parents take him on vacation to Turkey, via Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, with their Fiat Polski 125 loaded with products to resell on the black market.
Summer 1981. Sa matura (baccalaureate) in pocket, Radoslaw Sikorski, 18, leaves for England for a linguistic stay of a few months. On December 13, when General Jaruzelski established martial law in Poland, several of his friends were arrested. Rather than returning as planned and risking prison, the student decides to stay, obtains political asylum and begins study at Oxford. Less than seven years later, on June 4, 1989, Solidarnosc won the first (semi-) free elections. The prodigal son, who has meanwhile become a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Angola, can return to the country.
A call for financial solidarity
At the head of Polish diplomacy between 2007 and 2014, Radoslaw Sikorski will print his mark. On November 28, 2011, before the Bundestag, he encouraged Berlin to act in the face of the debt crisis in the euro zone. “I am less afraid of German power than I begin to fear its inaction. You have become the indispensable nation of Europe “, he says.
Nine years later, this convinced European calls for financial solidarity in the face of the crisis which is shaking the Old Continent. “The confederal constitutional architecture of the European Union is not working satisfactorily and we need to give more authority to the center, he says. Europe must create an instrument allowing its member states, with the necessary guarantees, to borrow at the best possible rate. “
“Radek” Sikorski dreams of a “Great compromise” between Paris and Berlin, where everyone would share their attributes – the seat of permanent member of the UN Security Council and nuclear deterrence, French side, economic power, German side – to create, with the other countries of the EU, a “European power capable of treating on an equal footing with China and the United States”.
“The current crisis is a constitutional moment for the European Union. Continuing to act like nothing is not enough, insists MEP. We need courageous decisions, the kind of leadership provided by Emmanuel Macron. Let us not let the nationalists pretend that we can only rely on the nation state. Europeans can only do what is necessary to overcome this crisis together. “
Her inspiration: Margaret Thatcher
” I have long been an admirer of Margaret Thatcher, an example of this resolute, tenacious, principled leadership that we need, a champion of freedom who, along with Ronald Reagan and John Paul II, contributed to the demise of communism in central Europe. His visit to Poland in 1988 was an important factor in the Communist Party’s decision to start negotiating with Solidarnosc. On Europe, she signed the Single European Act as prime minister, before sinking into europhobia during her retirement. A lesson must be learned from the way the British succumbed, thirty years later, to the untruths of the supporters of Brexit: we must not allow the nationalists to deceive us again. “