Reuters International

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of ruling party Law and Justice attends a news conference about Brexit in party headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File photo


BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union will collapse if it fails to reform, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in an interview published on Monday.

European leaders, struggling to overcome an historic crisis following Britain's vote to leave the EU, remain divided over migration and economic policy. After more than a half century of closer integration, some fear the bloc risks breaking apart.

"The continent is changing rapidly and, as I see it, not for the better," Kaczynski was quoted as saying in German newspaper Die Welt.

The rise of populist parties across the continent, such as the Alternative for Germany, the National Front in France and anti-European parties in the Netherlands among others could cause the EU as it is to burst, he said.

"Either we reform the EU or it collapses."

Kaczynski's Law and Justice party is also nationalist-minded, and has divided opinion with its conservative social outlook and consolidation of state power.

Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - known collectively as the Visegrad group - have demanded that the European Commission be reined in as a consequence of Britain's vote to leave the bloc.

Kaczynksi said Poland had put forward in unofficial talks suggestions on how to change the EU's treaties to strengthen nation states.

(Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Toby Chopra)


 Reuters International