Wednesday

24th Jan 2018

Borisov: Poland vote would give EU 'sleepless nights'

  • 'I very much hope that the [Polish] government will do everything needed in order to overcome the controversies', says Bulgaria's Borisov (l) (Photo: Consilium)

A vote on sanctions against Poland over its rule of law issues would give the EU "sleepless nights" and should be avoided, Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov said on Thursday (11 January).

"We should not get to this point," Borisov, whose country has just taken over the presidency of the EU Council - the institution where member states meet - told journalists in Sofia.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Last month, the European Commission triggered article 7 of the EU treaty to open a sanctions procedure against Warsaw.


The commission said that unless the Polish government steps back before the end of March, it would ask the council to declare that "there is a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law."

The decision would have to be taken by a majority of four-fifths of EU countries.

"If we have to go [to] voting, we'll have sleepless nights on how to vote," Borisov said, adding that Bulgaria "will do its best" not to bring the discussion to the council.

He said that such a discussion between member states "would set a very dangerous precedent."

Speaking through a translator, Borisov argued that breaches to the rule of law were "so vague" to measure.

"Every time you want to hurt someone's feelings, you put [on the table] 'the rule of law'," Borisov added.

In any case, the Bulgarian government downplayed expectations that a decision would have to be taken in the coming months.

"I don't expect something specific with immediate effect happening" under the Bulgarian mandate, which continues until 30 June, noted Lilyana Pavlova, the minister in charge of the EU presidency.

She insisted instead that "the procedure is just starting."

'A great country'

She explained that "the first step will be to analyse and to have the positions of every country, including Poland."

"We'll have to consult with the legal services, having additional analysis and then to continue on the next steps," she said.

Pavlova rejected, however, the idea that Bulgaria was trying to put to one side an embarrassing issue.

"We are ready to work, we are ready to put it on the agenda. However, we have to follow the procedure," she said.

The first discussion will take place on 27 February, at a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers.

On Tuesday, the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki met the commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The two men said in a joint statement that they would try to make progress "by the end of February."

Borisov, who insisted that Poland was "a great country", said that he "very much hope[d] that the [Polish] government will do everything needed in order to overcome the controversies and find a good tone of voice."

"My feeling is that the government is investing effort into finding a solution," he added.

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

The new Polish prime minister has hit a more conciliatory tone in Brussels when meeting EU commission chief Juncker, but sticks to the judicial reform despite the threat of possible sanctions.

Bulgaria's corruption problem mars EU presidency start

A dispute between the government and the president over an anti-corruption law has put the spotlight on one of the Bulgaria's main problems - just as it is trying to showcase its economic and social progress.

MEPs may bar killer drones from EU research cash

EU defence fund is expected to hand out €500m to companies across the EU if they work together on 'defence products'. Under the current proposal, the development of weapons of mass destruction would not be excluded.

EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate

The president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, said the bank had high standards - but did not explain why an anti-fraud report on a loan to Volkswagen was being kept secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Free AlllianceNo Justice From the Spanish Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  3. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  5. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  7. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  9. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  10. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  11. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  12. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit

Latest News

  1. Lessons for EU from the Greek tragedy
  2. A new dynamic on the Macedonia name issue
  3. Berlusconi in Brussels on pre-election charm offensive
  4. ECJ should rule against Austrian online censorship lawsuit
  5. EU states loosen grip on tax havens
  6. Facebook promises privacy reboot ahead of new EU rules
  7. Europe is lacking tech leadership
  8. Spitzenkandidat system here to stay, MEPs warn capitals