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Merkel, Macron say they would support EU move against Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 15.12.2017 16:52
The leaders of France and Germany said on Friday they would support the European Commission if it takes the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7.1 against Poland and sends a warning to Warsaw amid concerns over the rule of law.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels. Photo: EPA/JULIEN WARNANDGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels. Photo: EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels that if the EU’s executive decides on such a move against Poland “then we will support it."

The European Commission is on Wednesday due to assess sweeping changes to Poland’s Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), an influential body that nominates new judges, which were passed by lawmakers in Warsaw last week.

EU values

The Commission is then expected to decide whether to activate Article 7.1 of the EU treaty.

The article means that, at the request of a third of member states, the European Parliament or the European Commission, the EU Council can declare that there is a “clear risk of a serious breach” by an EU country of the bloc’s values.

Sanctions unlikely

Such a decision would have to be taken by a three-fifths majority of EU countries. The move would not mean that sanctions will be imposed on Poland but would be a step in that direction.

Penalties on Warsaw would have to be backed unanimously by EU member states, while Hungary has said it would not support sanctions.

After travelling to Brussels for an EU summit, Poland’s new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday that triggering Article 7 against his country would be unfair. He argued that sovereign nations had the right to reform their justice systems.

The European Commission said in July that it was ready to trigger a formal warning by the EU if Poland dismisses or forces the retirement of Supreme Court judges.

Poland's governing Law and Justice (PiS) party has said sweeping changes are needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past, accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens.

But opponents have accused Law and Justice of aiming to stack courts with its own candidates and to dismantle the rule of law.


Source: PAP

tags: politics
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