EU gives Poland ultimatum on legal reform
The EU Commission has given the Polish government three months to make changes to its controversial legal reform. Polish media put forward different arguments for why this ultimatum will fail to be effective.
Brussels lacks effective instruments against Warsaw
The ultimatum is unlikely to have much of an impact, Agnieszka Mazurczyk comments in the centre-left news magazine Polityka:
“If the government hesitates now, if it ignores the problem and doesn't show willingness to enter into a dialogue or simply goes on as before, the Commission may take a further step in the rule of law procedure. This could consist of a formal application in the European Council to initiate the proceedings foreseen in Article 7 of the EU treaty. The punishment for Poland would be a curtailing of its rights and in particular its voting right in the European Council. This would be extremely humiliating but there's still a long way to go before it happens. In fact it may not happen at all because it requires the unanimous approval of all EU member states. And Hungary has already said that it stands behind Poland like a wall and would vote against such a measure.”
EU distracting from real problems
The ultimatum is a nonsensical move for several reasons, the pro-government daily Gazeta Polska Codziennie argues:
“Firstly under international law the Commission lacks a mandate to push through acts against a member state. Secondly it would be better advised to focus on the real problems, starting with protecting Europeans from the growing threat of terror. Instead they have come up with an ersatz issue, holding up the Polish government and Polish state as whipping boy. It's like a captain making a huge fuss about a creaking door on a sinking ship rather than trying to save the vessel. And thirdly the rule of law is not being violated in Poland but in other countries. In Germany, for instance, human rights are clearly being violated in the area of freedom of expression. The public media are being censored by the executive powers. ”