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article imageEU commissioner says eurosceptic members 'greater danger' than Brexit

By AFP     Sep 8, 2017 in World

Brussels considers eurosceptic members of the European Union more of a threat to the bloc's cohesion than Britain's leaving, EU commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said Friday.

"Brexit was a shock to everyone, but now -- and I take all responsibility for saying it as I see it ... and I'm not saying Poland, but countries like Poland are presented as a greater danger to EU cohesion than Brexit," Bienkowska, the European commissioner for industry, said during a public discussion in the southern Polish city of Krakow.

Responding to audience questions, the commissioner highlighted several sticking points between the European Commission and Warsaw's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government.

She cited such examples as Warsaw's refusal to welcome migrants in solidarity with other EU countries, reforms being prepared to allow the government to control aid groups, and continued logging in Poland's ancient Bialowieza forest, despite an EU injunction to stop.

The remarks by Bienkowska, who belongs to Poland's main opposition party Civic Platform (PO), comme after similar words of caution from other EU politicians.

French President Emmanuel Macron said last month that Poland was going "against European interests," while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Poland a "serious issue".

The EU launched legal action in July against the government over reforms that it fears will limit judicial independence.

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