Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, says he is worried that his home country of Poland could be moving toward leaving the European Union.
Tusk’s remarks on August 3 come amid continuing conflict between the EU and Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) over its attempt to overhaul the domestic justice system and the country’s extensive logging operations in Europe's last primeval forest.
The Polish government has rejected EU criticism of both actions and has refused to adhere to a European Court of Justice order that it stop the logging, according to RFE/RL.
“It seems to me like a prelude to an announcement that Poland does not need the European Union. I am afraid we are closer than further to that moment," Tusk told reporters.
Tusk made the remarks after undergoing eight hours of questioning by Warsaw prosecutors who are investigating the 2010 crash of a Polish aircraft in Smolensk, Russia, that killed Poland's then-president and 95 others.
PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has accused Tusk, who was prime minister at the time, and his liberal Civic Platform (PO) party of being responsible for the crash that claimed the life of his twin brother, the late President Lech Kaczynski.
Kaczynski has long claimed that the air crash was not an accident and has accused Tusk of "moral responsibility" for the death of his brother.
Polish and Russian investigators blamed pilot error, bad weather, and poor air-traffic control for the accident.
Tusk told reporters he "had no doubt" he was being targeted by his archrival in the right-wing, populist PiS government before the questioning by Polish prosecutors.
EU leaders on March 9 confirmed Tusk for his second term as the president of the European Council, despite objections from the Polish government.
With reporting by AFP and AP