/Poland takes leaf out of Juncker’s ebook in Brussels battle

Poland takes leaf out of Juncker’s ebook in Brussels battle

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and EU Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP through Getty Photographs

Prime minister presents Fee president with doc defending controversial judicial overhaul.

In an effort to stave off EU censure, Poland’s prime minister on Thursday took a leaf out of Jean-Claude Juncker’s ebook — virtually actually.

Mateusz Morawiecki introduced the European Fee president with a 94-page “white ebook,” drawn up by his authorities, which seeks to indicate that Warsaw’s overhaul of the authorized system doesn’t undermine the rule of regulation — opposite to the view of the Fee, a number of EU member international locations and civil society activists, who see the revamp as an influence seize by the ruling Legislation and Justice get together.

Warsaw’s effort to grab the initiative was harking back to a technique deployed by Juncker himself final yr, when he unveiled a white paper on EU reform that set the agenda for debate concerning the bloc’s future.

The transfer appears unlikely to vary the Fee’s thoughts however it might at the least purchase Poland a bit time in its battle with Brussels. Final December, the Fee took the unprecedented step of triggering the so-called Article 7 process — a authorized course of that may result in the imposition of sanctions on an EU member nation. The Fee gave Poland three months to deal with the issues it has recognized.

Morawiecki claimed that the reforms boosted the independence of the judiciary.

The Polish authorities’s doc argues that its judicial reforms meet EU requirements and “are impressed by good practices of different member states.” It says its Nationwide Council of the Judiciary, for instance, is elected in a way similar to one in Spain and states that in Germany “there is no such thing as a such council in any respect.”

The Fee, against this, assessed that the reforms contravene Poland’s personal structure and EU regulation. It concluded there was a “clear threat of a severe breach of the rule of regulation” in Poland.

However Morawiecki claimed in Brussels on Thursday that the federal government’s reforms boosted the independence of the judiciary.

“We imagine that via this reform, we’re considerably bettering and strengthening independence and objectivity,” he instructed reporters.

Final week, members of the European Parliament voted by a large majority to help the Fee’s stance and known as on the Council to “swiftly decide” whether or not Poland is vulnerable to a severe breach of EU regulation.

Since Morawiecki — a clean media performer — turned prime minister late final yr, Warsaw has proven a higher willingness to have interaction in dialogue with Brussels. However its underlying message has remained the identical — it received’t again down.

The Council might vote by a four-fifths majority that there’s “a transparent threat of a severe breach” of the EU’s core values.

Hoping for help from EU member governments, Morawiecki mentioned he had despatched the white ebook to all European capitals. “We are going to now within the subsequent couple of weeks attempt to attain out to everyone who want to speak to us,” he mentioned.

The Article 7 course of can finally result in the suspension of a member nation’s voting rights contained in the EU. The possibilities of Poland going through this sanction are slim as all different EU international locations would wish to agree and Hungary, for one, has already mentioned it will veto such a step.

Nonetheless, the Council might vote by a four-fifths majority that there’s “a transparent threat of a severe breach” of the EU’s core values — which might be the primary time it had ever handed such vote of censure towards certainly one of its personal members.