WARSAW, Poland – Poland on Monday sought to assert its right to help guide the European Union's future direction, with leaders saying they are working on plans to renew the bloc, battered by the British vote to leave.
Witold Waszczykowski, the foreign minister, described Poland's efforts as a counterweight to meetings by the EU's founding members in Western Europe to seek a way forward that have excluded Poland and some other newer members.
He said his conservative government in Warsaw is working on proposals that are "radical."
In an interview with the Rzeczpospolita daily, the powerful ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, gave a hint at the Polish proposals still being formed. He said he would like a new EU treaty transforming the union into a confederation of strong nations that could evolve into a military power.
Both men suggested Poland also sees the resignation of some current EU leaders.
"Something very bad has happened," Kaczynski said in the interview. "We have a crisis in the EU and the right response is not to keep doing what we are doing, because that will end in catastrophe."
Waszczykowski described officials at EU headquarters in Brussels as out of touch with regular people and said they should be "beating themselves on the chest" in remorse.
"Europeans are not happy with the way the migration problem is being solved, they are not happy with the security problems, with poor economic growth that is the effect of the euro currency, because in fact the eurozone is stagnant and is not growing," Waszczykowski told reporters.
Kaczynski singled out the European Council leader, Donald Tusk, Poland's former prime minister, for censure, saying he played the "dark role" of not giving Britain enough concessions in negotiations to persuade Britons to remain.
"As a negotiator Donald Tusk bears direct responsibility for Brexit and should disappear from European politics, but that also goes for the whole European Commission in its current composition," said Kaczynski, who has a bitter political rivalry with Tusk going back more than a decade.
The decision by British voters to leave the EU is a blow to Poland, which considered Britain its most important ally within the 28-nation bloc. Polish and British leaders had common cause in a desire to maintain strong national sovereignty, in opposition to French and German calls for greater union.
Waszczykowski spoke after two separate meetings with other foreign ministers Monday. In Prague, Waszczykowski met his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany and France. The Warsaw meeting hours later brought together the representatives of 10 nations, including the British EU minister David Lidington.