Poland may soon face sanctions from the EU

A resolution was passed on Wednesday which includes the decision to launch Article 7 of the EU treaty. Often referred to as an "atomic option", the article opens the door to imposing sanctions on a member state.

Zuzanna Piechowicz
Zuzanna Piechowicz Tok FM, Poland
Source: Tok FM
Poland may soon face sanctions from the EU - NewsMavens
Official photo of the Polish PM Beata Szydlo

Why this story matters:

On Wednesday, yet another debate was held in the European Parliament to discuss the situation in Poland. The parliament agreed that the rule of law in the country is threatened. Consequently, a resolution was passed which includes the decision to launch Article 7 of the EU treaty. Often referred to as an "atomic option", the article opens the door to imposing sanctions on a member state.

Frans Timmermans, the deputy head of the European Commission, who has been addressing the situation in Poland for months, once again criticized the "reform" of the judiciary, put in place by the ruling party (PiS). This was the fifth time in the past months that the European Parliament disputed Poland's situation. Since July, the PiS government has not responded to the invitation of the European Commission to address the problem together.

Frans Timmermans told the TOK FM correspondent in Brussels:

"The Polish government presents the charges against me as if the whole world was wrong and PiS lawmakers have a monopoly on the truth."

Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian MEP, mentioned the recent Independence March in Warsaw. On November 11, thousands of neo-Nazis, fascists and supporters of the white supremacy marched through the streets of the capital, just 300 km from Auschwitz. To protest against the words of the politicians, MEPs from the ruling Polish party PiS left the room.

How did Beata Szydlo react? "Politicians who defame their country on the international arena do not deserve to represent it," wrote Beata Szydło on Twitter, referring to the fact that some Polish MEPs voted in favor of the resolution on Poland. The PM announced that the "European Parliament scandal" --as she described the discussion on the rule of law in Poland -- will be addressed at today's European summit.

One of the Polish MEPs, prof. Ryszard Legutko, shone during the EP debate, perorating about the "obsessive", "anti-Polish orgy in the German media", full of "complete nonsense", indeed -- "Niagara falls of lies."

That evil European Union -- the government seems to think -- should give us the money and keep quiet. They just cannot bear that Poland is independent from Germany. Donald Tusk, Poland’s former PM and the current President of the European Council -- is the one to blame! He slanders Poland. How dare he? He is not a real Pole!

In an interview with TOK FM, Dr. Katarzyna Kasia from Kultura Liberalna, argued that "the discussion in the EP is bad for Poland but good for the Polish government." Through it, the ruling party can project the image of tough leaders who do not back down just because some foreigners tell them to.

At the same time, Poles are among the biggest Euro-enthusiasts in the EU. They do not want Polexite. The Polish government has a tough task in taking over the judiciary and showing that they can be tough against the EU but without leading Poland out of the Union. 

Details from the story:

  • For the fifth time in the past months, the European Parliament has discussed the rule of law in Poland.
  • The EP adopted a resolution, which is a prelude to the procedure of launching Article 7 of the European Union treaty. That could mean sanctions for Poland in the close future.

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NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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