/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 by way of Getty Photos

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 — nearly actually.

Mateusz Morawiecki introduced the European Fee president with a 94-page “white ebook,” drawn up by his authorities, which seeks to point out 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 occasion.

Warsaw’s effort to grab the initiative was paying homage to a method deployed by Juncker himself final 12 months, 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 could at the least 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 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 isn’t any 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 critical 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 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 vulnerable to a critical breach of EU regulation.

Since Morawiecki — a clean media performer — turned prime minister late final 12 months, 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 may vote by a four-fifths majority that there’s “a transparent threat of a critical breach” of the EU’s core values.

Hoping for assist from EU member governments, Morawiecki stated 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 all people who want to discuss to us,” he stated.

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 probabilities of Poland going through this sanction are slim as all different EU international locations would wish to agree and Hungary, for one, has already stated it could veto such a step.

Nevertheless, the Council may vote by a four-fifths majority that there’s “a transparent threat of a critical 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 in every of its personal members.