The leader of the ruling party in Poland said that there would be no “Polexit” and that the future of the country was in the European Union.
But Jaroslaw Kaczynski also issued a warning to the EU, saying Poland wishes to remain a “sovereign” country.
Kaczynski, who heads the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, is considered Poland’s most powerful politician.
In an interview with the official PAP news agency, he reiterated that EU “interference” in Poland’s internal affairs must end, but that the country will not leave the bloc.
The remarks came amid accusations from opposition politicians that Polish leaders were seeking to remove the country from the EU.
Several PiS personalities have made harsh comments on Brussels in the disputes over the rule of law and minority rights.
Some political observers in Poland also fear that harsh comments about the EU could put Poland on the path to leaving the EU.
But Kaczynski told PAP that Poland – where support for EU membership is very high at 80% – will not leave.
“There will be no Polexit, it is a propaganda invention that has been used against us many times,” said Kaczynski, who is also deputy prime minister.
“We clearly see the future of Poland in the European Union,” he added.
Relations between Warsaw and Brussels have become particularly strained in recent days.
Poland accused the EU of encroaching on its sovereignty by opposing changes to the country’s judicial system introduced by the government.
Earlier this month, the government accused the EU executive of “blackmail” after suggesting that the EU could withhold post-pandemic stimulus funds if Warsaw does not accept the rule of EU law.
Kaczynski argued that the rule of law is an area of responsibility of Member States alone and “cannot be subject to the kind of interference that is occurring now”.
The PiS leader also told PAP he does not believe EU member states are treated equally.
“We want what has been agreed in the treaties to be very strictly observed,” Kaczynski said.
The EU, however, maintains that because the bloc’s legal order is integrated, it is essential to protect the independence of the courts in each member state.
Meanwhile, Kaczynski also said the ruling party in Poland will try to overturn the Senate’s rejection of a controversial media bill.
Critics of the bill say it aims to silence international media, including the US-owned TVN channel which criticizes the government.
But Law and Justice argues that it is a matter of national security to prevent outside bodies from influencing public opinion in Poland.
The Polish Senate rejected the bill last week, but it does not have the power to stop it completely, as it will now return to the lower house of parliament.
However, Polish President Andrzej Duda has indicated that he will not sign it in its current form.