Logo Polskiego Radia

EC won't push for sanctions against Poland over rule of law: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 11.05.2017 17:58
The European Commission will not push to sanction Poland over rule of law concerns when EU members raise the issue for the first time next week, private radio station RMF FM has said.
Photo: Flickr.com/Amio Cajander.Photo: Flickr.com/Amio Cajander.

The radio station said the commission has drawn up a one-page report outlining the Polish government’s activities after coming to power in late 2015.

Since the Law and Justice (PiS) party swept to power, it introduced far-reaching changes, including to the judiciary, which at one point triggered a political deadlock over the country’s constitutional court.

The EC report, which is expected to by shown during a General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, also mentions sanctions which a country can face for violating democratic principles.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said that Poland “will respond [to the report] because it is biased”, the onet.pl website reported.

But RMF FM said that the Tuesday council meeting would not see any decisions taken, while, EC Vice President Frans Timmermans told Reuters he was not ready to announce further steps.

"We have a number of instruments in our toolbox... I believe there is still room for political dialogue," Timmermans said.

An EU diplomat who spoke to RMF FM said the EC report: “will only be informing of the rule of law situation in Poland”.

“The European Commission wants to test the moods of member states about Poland and to check which EU countries will support the EC’s further efforts,” the source added, according to RMF FM.

Another source told RMF FM that the EU would be unlikely to back strong EC action, referring to the 2004 imposition of sanctions against Austria.

“The effect at the time was that society stood behind its government. We don’t want the opposite effect to what is intended,” the source said.

In January last year, the Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced it was starting a "rule-of-law" probe into whether laws pushed through by Poland’s ruling conservative PiS party violate EU standards. PiS has fiercely rejected such accusations.

Critics have accused the governing Law and Justice party of aiming to stack Poland’s top court, the Constitutional Tribunal, with PiS supporters, undermining its ability to challenge new laws.

Law and Justice argued it was unfair that a constitutional court with a majority of judges appointed by the previous parliament should be able to scupper flagship policies for which PiS secured a mandate in democratic elections in late 2015.

The European Commission has issued Poland with a list of recommendations, and after Warsaw said it had submitted a detailed response, Waszczykowski said: “we consider the case closed”. But the European Commission was not satisfied by Warsaw’s answer. (vb)

tags: rule of law
Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us