Bronislaw Komorowski has been declared the winner of Sunday’s presidential election in Poland. The centre-right candidate narrowly beat Jaroslaw Kaczynski, twin brother of the former president Lech Kaczynski, who died in the Smolensk plane crash three months ago.
Over at Progress magazine, the former Europe minister Denis MacShane argues that this marks an end for the Kaczynskis’ right-wing nationalist Law and Justice party, which is currently the Tories’ major partner in the European Parliament. (My colleague James Macintyre raised concerns about the politics of a Law and Justice MEP, Michal Kaminski, last year.)
The death and now defeat of the Kaczynskis gives the Tories a chance to rethink their alliance, something which is extremely damaging to UK national interests in Europe.
Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament is more powerful in terms of agreeing EU rules and policy. The auto-marginalisation of Tory MEPs does Cameron no favours. As British PM, he is received with courtesy and Britain remains, under any government, an important EU player and power. But Europe is about politics and political networking and influence.
The Kaczynski twins had their brief moment of power but blew it with an incompetent government and then, tragically, a hastily arranged flight to the Katyn memorial site which ended in disaster. Now the Kaczynski era is over. But Cameron and Hague show no sign of being able to move on.