Thursday

11th Aug 2022

New Polish PM aims for 'progress' on rule of law

  • Juncker (r) welcomed Morawiencki (l) ar the commission's Berlaymont building (Photo: European Commission)

Poland and the EU will continue discussions on rule of law with the aim of "making progress" by the end of February, the Polish prime minister and the European Commission president said in a joint statement on Tuesday (9 January) after having dinner in Brussels.

Mateusz Morawiecki and Jean-Claude Juncker had a "detailed discussion" on rule of law questions, the statement said, adding that the dinner took place in a "friendly atmosphere".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The two also discussed migration, energy, and the internal market. Morawiecki said later that Brexit, and the next EU budget were also on the menu.

Poland has been at loggerheads with the EU over a sweeping judicial overhaul that the bloc says undermines rule of law and goes against European values.

Despite receiving four recommendations by the EU executive over the "judicial reforms", Poland had, until now, not engaged in a meaningful discussion on the new legislation.

It has also refused to join EU quotas on asylum seekers, prompting a commission lawsuit at the EU court in Luxembourg.

Morawiecki hit a more conciliatory note in Brussels on Tuesday, assuring Juncker that Poland wanted to engage on key EU policies, such as energy, security, and the internal market in what seemed to be an effort to woo the commission.

But the new Polish leader stuck to the judicial reforms, which the EU executive wants to overturn.

The commission launched an unprecedented sanctions procedure, called the Article 7 process, last month, which could see fellow member states deciding whether to discipline Poland over infringing core rules and values.

The commission has given three months to Poland to act.

Reshuffling

Ultimate sanctions, such as the suspension of voting rights, would require unanimity in the EU Council, which seems unlikely after Hungary said it would support Poland.

The commission's investigation has been led by vice-president Frans Timmermans, who was present at Tuesday's dinner.

The 49 year-old ex-banker, Morawiecki, travelled to Brussels after a reshuffle of his government in an effort to improve relations with the EU.

The EU says Poland is politicising its courts, but despite dismissing the foreign, defence, and environment ministers, Morawiecki kept justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, a key figure in designing the judicial overhaul, in his post.

Opinion

How powerful is Poland's Morawiecki?

The new prime minister of Poland is on a collision course with the EU Commission as well as his party. His debut appearance - and early departure - at last week's summit indicates his future is up in the air.

Tusk: Poland risks harming EU appeal

EU Council president said anti-democratic 'interventions' in Poland and the US could harm Western soft power in its contest with Russia.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  2. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive
  3. Another migrant tragedy claims 50 lives in Greek waters
  4. Russia hits area near town with 120 rockets, says Ukraine
  5. UN expects more ships to get Ukrainian grain out
  6. Greece to end bailout-era oversight
  7. Denmark to train Ukrainian soldiers in urban warfare
  8. Russian helicopter flies into Estonia's airspace

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  2. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  3. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia
  4. EU Commission shrugs off Polish threats on rule-of-law
  5. EU urged to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians
  6. Russia puts EU in nuclear-energy paradox
  7. Almost two-thirds of Europe in danger of drought
  8. West needs to counter Russia in Africa, but how?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us