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Military unity could make EU a superpower: Kaczynski

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(KRYNICA) - The creation of a united armed forces for the European Union could give Brussels superpower status to match that of Washington, Poland's opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told AFP Friday.

"I want Europe to be a superpower," Kaczynski said in an interview at the Krynica Economic Forum in southern Poland, while on the campaign trail ahead of a general election on October 9.

"I'm a eurorealist and I support a stronger Europe, especially in the political-military aspect," Kaczynski added, in an apparent pre-election drive to ditch his eurosceptic image.

The 62-year-old identical twin of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski, who died in an April 2010 air crash in Russia, governed in tandem with him as prime minister in 2006-2007.

He gained a reputation as a strident eurosceptic after a string of rows with Brussels.

"A political centre which has at its disposal certain means vis-a-vis external forces would make Europe a real superpower and I would really want this," Kaczynski said.

"Europe should have a political centre, but equipped with armed forces this political centre could be an equal partner for the United States and we must not forget China or India."

Asked whether he supported military integration among EU states, Kaczynski replied: "Yes, but under the condition that it will be on the level of a very powerful army and not that we create some kind of corps or brigades or other such laughable initiatives."

"No European state alone is capable of being a superpower -- and so it's clear -- I mean Russia too. Nor are France and Germany together because they are just too small," said the conservative opposition leader, known for his combative and mistrustful stance towards Moscow.

Turning to the economy, the opposition leader, who has long-shunned Poland's entry into the eurozone, slammed the 17-member single currency club for balking at input from candidate states in finding a cure to for its debt woes.

"The creation of a two-speed Europe is paving the way towards the European Union plunging into another crisis and to this we say an emphatic No!," Kaczynski fumed.

In a rare show of solidarity with the centrist government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Kaczynski derided as "disrespectful" Brussels' exclusion of Poland as current EU president from eurozone crisis talks.

Under its 2004 EU entry deal, Warsaw is obliged to adopt the single European currency but has no fixed deadline to do so.

Poland, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, after being the first Soviet-bloc state to negotiate a bloodless end to communism in 1989.


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