Michał Matlak holds a PhD from the European University in Florence, works at the European Parliament, and is a regular contributor to the Polish magazine Liberal Culture. (May 2019)

Follow Michał Matlak on Twitter: @MichalMatlak ‏.


‘A Dictatorship Is Being Created’: An Interview with Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa speaking at an event to mark the thirtieth anniversary of free elections in Poland, Gdansk, June 4, 2019

Michał Matlak: How do you account for the Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński’s political effectiveness? Lech Wałęsa: Jarosław Kaczyński wants to liquidate what does not suit him. And after he takes care of the courts, for example, then he notices that not everything is perfect, and that something else does not suit him, so he must conquer other institutions. That way, a dictatorship is being created. As a colleague, he could be useful. As a leader, Kaczyński is dangerous.

‘Sovereignty Doesn’t Exist in a Globalized World’: An Interview with Guy Verhofstadt

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, speaking to the press in Downing Street, London, March 6, 2018

Michał Matlak: If there’s Brexit, and there are negotiations on the future relationship, what kind of relationship would you favor? Guy Verhofstadt: An association agreement—and it should be as deep as possible. Membership is the best option, but if it’s not possible, let’s cooperate in as many domains as possible. Michał Matlak: What about other member states—are they ready to renounce their sovereignty in a Federal Europe? Guy Verhofstadt: Well, their sovereignty doesn’t exist in a globalized world. Sovereignty means that you can decide your own path. European states on their own are not able to do that. There’s only European sovereignty, if any. Only then can we decide on the European way of life.

‘Nostalgia Serves No Purpose’: An Interview with Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Brussels, Belgium, May 2019

Michał Matlak: What is most likely to happen now with the Brexit negotiations? Michel Barnier: There are three options: a deal based on the agreement finalized six months ago; withdrawal without a deal; or no Brexit. It will have to be the choice of the UK. During the last three years, we have delivered what the UK wants: leaving the EU, leaving the single market, leaving the customs union [after the Irish “backstop” is resolved]. Even if we regret their decision profoundly, it is their sovereign decision and we have to respect it. But if the UK wants to leave in an orderly manner, this treaty is the only option.

The Case for Europe: An Interview with Donald Tusk

European Council President Donald Tusk leaves the Elysee Palace following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, France, November 23, 2015

Donald Tusk: I have absolutely no cause for complaint, because there’s nothing worse in politics than boredom. What’s exciting in politics is power, of course, and the real power is at the level of national governments. But politics is also fascinating when it makes it possible to resolve critical situations, to negotiate, to bring others round to your way of thinking—I have more than enough of that in Brussels.

Europe for the Right Reasons: A Conversation with Stanley Hoffmann

Stanley Hoffmann speaking on European-American Relations in 1984

It requires a certain amount of chutzpah for somebody like Obama to be president because he knows there are a number of people who will never forgive him for being half-black. And for the time being America is ungovernable. The Constitution—and all the additions that have been grafted on it—make effective government almost impossible.