Last Thursday, Viscount Etienne Davignon, a Belgian who is the chairman of the secretive Bilderberg Group, celebrated his 75th birthday. Mr. Davignon is a former vice president of the European Commission and the author of the 1970 "Davignon Report" that laid the foundations for a common European foreign policy. In the Viscount's honor a conference about the future of the European Union was held in the prestigious Egmont Palace in Brussels. One of the speakers was the wealthy anti-Bush activist George Soros, another was Daniel Cohn-Bendit, an erstwhile campus revolutionary during the 1968 Paris student riots, who is currently a German member of the European Parliament for the Green Party.
Mr. Soros opined that the EU incarnates the "open society." Mr. Cohn-Bendit advocated that the EU expel member states that are "not European enough." Countries which Europe should throw out because they hamper the EU's aim of transforming itself into a federal superstate are the United Kingdom and Poland. Mr. Davignon reiterated Mr. Cohn-Bendit's position, albeit in a more diplomatic way. Europe should debate its future "without shunning taboos" by pondering "whether countries that systematically thwart European integration should not be ousted."
The so-called Eurocrats dislike the British because the latter believe democracy means that the people decide through their national parliaments. The British oppose technocrats, like Mr. Davignon and his ilk in the unelected EU bureaucracy, who impose trans-European policies that bypass all national legislatures. But what have to Poles done to antagonize the Eurocrats? Today is the "European day against the death penalty." The EU wanted to inaugurate the event with a common European declaration against capital punishment. Poland thwarted this by refusing to sign the declaration because the EU did not condemn abortion and euthanasia as well. Last month, during an EU meeting on the death penalty, the Polish justice minister confronted his Danish colleague with Denmark's annual 15,000 abortions and the latter — a member of the Danish Conservative Party — got so angry that she left the room, slamming the door.
Other countries, such as Belgium and Portugal, accuse Poland of "immoral and unworthy behavior" by daring to compare abortion and euthanasia to the death penalty. Richard Howitt, a British Labor politician and the vice president of the European Parliament's human rights subcommittee, said that Poland's refusal to reject the death penalty brings into question its commitment to European values.
The Poles are used to being lectured by the Eurocrats in Brussels. Last April, the European Parliament accused Poland of 'homophobia" because it does not want to include homosexuality in the school curriculum. Last May, the European Court of Human Rights found Poland guilty of violating human rights because it banned a "gay pride" parade in Warsaw. Last year, the European Commission threatened to deprive Warsaw of its voting rights in the European institutions if it remained in "serious breach of its obligations on human rights."
The Poles, however, are not easily intimidated. Poland's conservative government has made a farce of Polish internal politics, ending in disgraceful collapse, but it did not shy away from standing up to Brussels. Next week the EU wants to finalize the Reform Treaty, which it badly needs in order to replace the so-called "European Constitution" which was rejected in 2005 by France and the Netherlands. Poland has announced its intention to join Britain in opting out from the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is part of the Reform Treaty.
The refusal of the Poles has angered the EU elites as never before. The latter realize that the position of Warsaw has more to do with the Polish people than with the current government's stubbornness in view of the Oct. 21 Polish elections. While secularism is the EU's prevailing ideology, the Poles keep referring to Europe's Christian heritage. Even if the government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski loses the elections, the Eurocrats are likely to be confronted again and again with a people that has escaped Europe's secularization process.
Poland will play an increasingly prominent role in the next decades, if only because it is one of the few European countries with surging birth rates. In 2006, for the first time in ten years, Poland had a positive natural growth, with 374,000 newborn babies — a rise of 10 percent compared to the previous year. This year will be even better. Mr. Soros may think that the EU incarnates an "open society," but Poland's openness to new life proves that it is one of the few open societies in Europe.
This piece was originally published in The Washington Times on October 10, 2007 .