Robert Harneis –TDO-(FRANCE) After a year of threats, the European Union has finally launched an article 7 procedure against Poland on the grounds that the judicial reforms underway threaten the balance of power between the executive and the judiciary. There have also been threats to punish Poland financially by reducing or blocking grants from the EU.
The Polish government and its supporters claim that the judicial system was corrupt and a left over from Communist times.
The move has been greeted with much agitation from the pro-European press as ‘The nuclear Option’ that could lead to Poland losing its voting rights.
This is an exaggeration because for all this to happen, all 27 members of the EU will have to vote in favor. Prime Minister Orban of Hungary has already said that his country will veto any such moves.
The situation is further poisoned by the fact that the President of the European Council of Member States, Donald Tusk, is a Polish opposition politician who holds his unelected office despite objections from the Polish government.
The new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, recently appointed to soften Poland’s image, seems relaxed about the whole thing. He commented ‘Of course they have the power to do that…. But between launching an unjust procedure against us like that and it coming to fruition we shall certainly talk to our partners on a number of occasions’.
He added ‘I am firmly convinced that sovereign nations – and Europe must be a Europe of sovereign nations – have an absolute right to reform their justice system. The ineffectiveness of the Polish justice system is legendary even in Europe’.
Not far beneath the surface in this affair is the problem of accepting migrant quotas dictated by Brussels but inspired by Berlin. Poland has said that it will never accept migrant quotas whatever Brussels says or does. The previous Prime Minister, Beata Maria Sydlo, has even questioned the sanity of the Commissioners in Brussels in connection with their migrant policy.
The spokesman for the ruling Law and Justice Party, Beata Mazurek, has commented that the procedure could well have been launched ‘because we don’t want to accept immigrants, we don’t want to accept Muslim migrants, as we care for the security of Poles.’
The European Commission has been reluctant to launch the procedure because of fears of strengthening the position of the Polish government with the public. On the other hand, with the Brexit negotiations under way at the same time, they are afraid of looking weak.