Poland's media law alarms EU
The EU is examining the options for taking steps against the media reform passed in Poland at the end of the year that gives the government more influence in public broadcasting. The Union is right to put the national-conservative government in its place, some commentators say. Others find Brussels' finger-wagging counterproductive.
Brussels must bring Warsaw in line
Unlike with Hungary, in the case of Poland the EU must take clear and decisive action, writes the liberal daily Público: "Europe must not remain impassive and simply shrug off the situation as it has always done with Hungary. Our media systems are far from perfect and instances of state interference occur in many democratic countries, including Portugal. But to allow those mistakes to become the rule is unacceptable. The first piece of good news is that Brussels has the instruments to prevent 'systemic risks' in the legislation of the member states and ensure that 'European values' are adhered to. The second piece of good news is that after its hesitant behaviour regarding Hungary unambiguous criticism of the signs of 'Polish confusion' is being voiced in Europe. What Europe needs now is something that is so often lacking in Brussels - political power."
Poles don't need sermons from Brussels
Poland can do without Brussels' finger wagging, writes the public service broadcaster Deutschlandradio Kultur: "The Poles must draw their own conclusions about their present government. After all, they must have known how the PiS's leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is. He was prime minister just under ten years ago. And let's not forget that many young voters cast their ballots for the PiS and even for far more populist parties. They should experience the consequences of this party's partially irresponsible programme for their country. If they are already starting to have doubts about the wisdom of their choice Brussels' sermonising will only be counter-productive."
EU harder on Poland than on Hungary
Brussel's criticism of the new Polish media law elicits a surprised reaction from the conservative daily Lidové noviny: "Yes, the move to take over the broadcaster was disgusting. Nevertheless no one in Brussels was particularly disturbed by what is undoubtedly a more dangerous attack on the Polish Constitutional Court. State run television and radio are not uncommon in Central and Eastern Europe, even if the term 'public' is used to disguise this. ... Perhaps the harshness of the criticism has to do with the fact that the 'president' of the EU is Donald Tusk, who for years led the party that was given a thorough beating by Polish voters. Does Brussels have a double standard regarding Viktor Orbán, who rules Hungary with an iron fist? Germany, too, seems to have long turned a blind eye to Budapest's behaviour, while Warsaw, Prague and Bratislava are being lit up with spotlights."
PiS standing up to Western colonialists
The warnings from Brussels are just a sign that the EU is worried it will lose its influence over Poland, the national-Catholic daily Nasz Dziennik writes: "The PiS leadership is just starting its work and hasn't yet shown what it is capable of. So in fact the panicked voices in the West are the best indication of the quality of the new team. With their silent approval of the previous government, some Western Europeans have been exploiting Poland almost like a colony, but for them this golden age is now over. ... For example the bank sector, which is dominated by foreign capital, registered new record net profits almost every year. A current report put out by the [non-profit organisation] Global Financial Integrity shows that Poland is the only EU state among the 20 countries in the world in which foreign companies engage in illicit capital outflows."