Tuesday

16th Oct 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us