The European Parliament opposes easing the rule of law against Poland over the war in Ukraine. She wants to help accept refugees, but at the same time she fights for independent courts.
The state of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary – in the context of the Article 7 proceedings – was the subject of debate in the European Parliament on Tuesday.
The situation in Poland continues to raise serious concerns. Today I cannot report on new and positive trends in the field of rule of law in both Poland and Hungary – he said Didier ReyndersCommissioner for Justice of the European Union.
He stressed that new plans to settle Poland’s judicial structure will be closely monitored by the Commission in terms of EU law and CJEU decisions.
PiS for Brussels: Forgive us for the war in Ukraine
The European Parliament has been debating – without much influence – for several years over Poland’s endangered state of law, but a new element now are calls from the ruling camp for Brussels to stop dealing with the independence of the judiciary due to the war. in Ukraine.
Joachim BrodzinskAnd (PiS), speaking on behalf of the conservative faction, argued that Poland was now “on the lips of the whole world” because of its solidarity with refugees and its key role in helping Ukraine.
Meanwhile, with its attacks on Poland, the European West is trying – as Brodzinsky argued – to silence its conscience, because it was “French and German politicians who got on the phone with a war criminal” Putin. Brudziński asked the French how they felt during such a debate about France on their national holiday (although representatives of the French presidency were exceptionally not present at the debate on 3 May).
Representatives of the main factions in the demands argued that the rule of law should be amnesty for Ukraine.
I am amazed at the voices that say that during the war in Ukraine we should relax our rules in defense of democracy in Europe. It is exactly the opposite. After Putin’s invasion, we fell into a broader struggle between tyranny and democracy, between Putin’s model and the European model, between tyranny and freedom, between brute force and the rule of law. That is why we cannot soften our principles, if we want to win, as the Slovak MEP has argued Michel Shemica On behalf of the New Europe faction (including Poland 2050).
Struggle for shared values
also dutch Jeroen Liners On behalf of the European People’s Party (including the PO and PSL), he argued pleas “to stop disturbing Hungary and Poland with rule of law measures when Poles and Hungarians make such great efforts to accept Ukrainian refugees.”
“When Ukrainians fight or die for freedom, democracy and the rule of law, it would be ironic to turn a blind eye to the attack on the same values in our union,” said Liners.
Moreover, German MEP Katrina Barley On behalf of the center-left, she noted that the electoral campaigns in Hungary for nine years were conducted in very unequal conditions, and in Poland there was an attack on the independence of the judiciary for seven years. Despite this, representatives of other EU countries are unable – as Parly argued – to respond correctly, although now the Ukrainians who are fighting and giving their lives for European values also look at the EU.
As the European Parliament, we ask the Council of the European Union to finally address the continuation of the Article 7 procedure, rather than further pointless hearings, and to state that there is a clear risk of a serious violation of the rule of law and European values by Poland and Hungary. Parly said the EU Council should adopt specific recommendations for both countries.
Next Thursday, the European Parliament intends to adopt another resolution on Poland and Hungary, in which it will urge EU governments to act under Article 7.
Only the European Parliament can apply pressure
The imposition of sanctions is subject to the requirements of (which cannot be reached) consensus, but most MEPs want the EU Council to start crafting specific treatment recommendations with specific deadlines for Poland and Hungary. Most of 22 of the 27 EU countries are required to accept it. However, even if this threshold is reached, the recommendations will in fact be nothing but a new form of political pressure.
KPO still pending
On the other hand, Commissioner Reynders reminded MEPs of the following: the European Commission started the “money for the rule of law” procedure against Hungary last week, and the Polish penalty for non-compliance with the CJEU decision on the muzzle law has increased by one million euros per day (in total it is already about 100 million euros), and last week, anti-infringement measures were launched against Poland at the expense of the Constitutional Court. It may also lead to a complaint with the CJEU, and subsequently to a possible penalty.
– It is not only about undermining the priority of EU law, but about the lack of independence of the Constitutional Court – Reynders emphasized in the European Parliament.
However, in the short term, the most painful tool for pressure from Brussels are the frozen National Reconstruction Plans (KPO), i.e. €7.2 billion in support for Hungary and up to €23.9 billion in subsidies for Poland to be gradually launched by 2026.
By the end of this year, up to 70 percent. Funds from each KPO must be allocated to specific programs, otherwise this pool will be lost. If the Polish KPO is approved by July, according to EU experts, the money will be fully salvageable without “procedural courses”.
The European Commission wanted to approve the Polish KPO. However, almost at the last minute, the government of Mateusz Morawiecki demanded that Brussels, as part of the KPO settlement, withdraw from anti-violation measures against Poland – this would require boycotting the CJEU decision – exempting Warsaw from paying Disciplinary Chamber fines. The committee refused.