Warsaw defends itself against criticism from Brussels
In response to the EU Commission's decision to open an inquiry against Warsaw Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło has defended the national conservative government's course, saying that Poland has the right to take sovereign decisions. Commentators hope that Warsaw and Brussels will be able to resolve their dispute. But they also criticise the EU for being more lenient with Poland and Hungary than with candidate countries like Serbia.
Europe needs Poland
The centre-left daily Novi List explains all that is at stake for Europe in the controversy with Poland: "Europe must not lose Poland. And that's why Brussels can't afford to simply look on calmly as the anti-democratic virus spreads from Budapest to Warsaw. Because Poland is not Hungary. Poland, with its 40 million inhabitants, is the largest and most successful of the new EU member states, and with its constructive Europe policy it has taken the leading role in young Europe. For two decades the 'Weimar Triangle' in which Poland, Germany and France discuss and vote on their decisions regarding Europe has been in place. Poland is the most important state in the post-communist world, and too vital a state to be left in the grip of Polish ultra-nationalists who see in Brussels and Europe only what they once saw in Moscow."
EU's double standard frustrates accession candidates
The fact that Poland and Hungary are not facing any real consequences even though the rule of law there is under threat is frustrating for countries like Serbia that are making a great effort to comply with the EU's standards, notes the centre-left daily The Irish Times: "Despite the European Commission discussing the ramifications of the new Polish laws at their weekly meeting this week, the possibility of any substantive action is unlikely. ... Turning a blind eye to deteriorating rule of law standards in its own member states opens up credibility questions for the European Union. Already, countries who are on the path to EU membership, such as Serbia, are voicing frustration at having to meet high standards of rule of law, while countries such as Hungary and Poland blatantly breach those standards."
Rule of law also weak in other EU states
The EU Commission's probe is unjust because constitutional courts in other EU countries are no better off, the Catholic website Gość Niedzielny sniggers: "Let's start with the UK. It doesn't even have a constitution in the sense of a legal act that takes precedence over other laws. So of course there can be no probes into the constitutionality of the laws. And why not? The Brits believe that parliament alone is sovereign. ... The second example is the Netherlands. This state is all the more interesting in that its constitution bans controls of the constitutionality of laws. And then there's Luxembourg: the grand duchy does have a constitutional court, but it's very weak. Citizens or groups of MPs have no right to question the constitutionality of laws, only the courts do. ... The question arises: does the EU Commission also have its eye on the UK, the Netherlands and Luxembourg?"