/Poland takes leaf out of Juncker’s e-book in Brussels battle

Poland takes leaf out of Juncker’s e-book in Brussels battle

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and EU Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP by way of 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 e-book — nearly actually.

Mateusz Morawiecki offered the European Fee president with a 94-page “white e-book,” drawn up by his authorities, which seeks to indicate that Warsaw’s overhaul of the authorized system doesn’t undermine the rule of legislation — 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 Regulation and Justice occasion.

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 in regards to the bloc’s future.

The transfer appears unlikely to vary the Fee’s thoughts however it could not less than purchase Poland somewhat 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 handle the issues it had 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 isn’t any such council in any respect.”

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

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

“We consider that by means of this reform, we’re considerably enhancing and strengthening independence and objectivity,” he informed reporters.

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

Since Morawiecki — a clean media performer — turned prime minister late final yr, Warsaw has proven a higher willingness to interact 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 assist from EU member governments, Morawiecki mentioned he had despatched the white e-book to all European capitals. “We are going to now within the subsequent couple of weeks attempt to attain out to everyone who wish to discuss to us,” he mentioned.

The Article 7 course of can in the end 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 want to agree and Hungary, for one, has already mentioned it could veto such a step.

Nevertheless, 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 in opposition to one among its personal members.