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Polish gov’t preparing ‘diplomatic offensive’ over Article 7

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 29.12.2017 09:28
Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has announced that the government plans to spend the next three months holding talks with EU countries in response to the triggering of Article 7 by the European Commission.
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej ZborowskiPolish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski

Last week the European Commission took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, a response to the passage of two contentious bills overhauling Poland’s judiciary.

The Polish government now has three months to present its case to both the Commission and to other EU member states.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is already scheduled to speak with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, on January 9.

In addition, Waszczykowski said that Poland would try to talk with various EU member countries.

The foreign minister highlighted Bulgaria, which will assume the rotating presidency of the EU in January, as one of the potential key players in discussions. According to him, a bilateral meeting could take place on January 15.

Any sanctions against Poland would require unanimity among member states. To date Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has vowed to block any EU moves against Poland.

PM seeks ‘common ground’

Meanwhile, Morawiecki said: "The best medicine is usually dialogue. We want to conduct this dialogue... We want to explain to our [European] partners why our reforms of the justice system are necessary."

Morawiecki added: "I expect that we will be able to reach common ground, at least when it comes to understanding each other's positions. I am a moderate optimist about this."

According to Morawiecki’s chief of staff, the prime minister will most likely go on a diplomatic tour of EU countries.

On Wednesday, January 3, Morawiecki is scheduled to make a trip to Budapest to meet with Orban.

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

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