Wednesday

22nd Feb 2017

EU commission criticism upsets Warsaw

  • Oettinger told the FAZ daily Poland should be placed under rule of law monitoring (Photo: European Parliament)

The Polish foreign ministry has summoned the European Commission’s top official in Warsaw to clarify criticism of its new media law.

Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski told the TVN24 broadcaster on Tuesday (5 January) the "courtesy talk" is needed after German EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger spoke out in German press on Sunday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Polish minister mentioned "strange, unclear statements of some European commissioners, who, based on press reports … start to judge Poland."

He added: "We want to clarify why the commissioners are not using official channels of communication with the Polish government, but [prefer to] give weekend interviews to the German press."

The commission will, on 13 January, hold an internal debate on the Polish situation, with Oettinger saying it might merit special monitoring leading to EU Council sanctions.

Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish daily, reports that Waszczykowski has so far failed to reply to two commission letters from December, asking him to justify how the media law, as well as a reform of the Constitutional Tribunal, fit with EU norms on free press and separation of powers.

The Polish president Andrzej Duda, who is also loyal to Waszczykowski’s ruling Law and Justice party, is due in the EU capital on 18 January.

But his office says the trip was planned prior to the controversial reforms.

The Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog in Strasbourg, France, has also entered the debate.

Its head, Norwegian politician Thorbjorn Lagland, wrote to Duda on Tuesday to “express [his] particular concern with regard to the new law on public service braodcasting … and the impact it may have on the integrity and independence of public service media, as a vital condition for democracy.”

He invited Poland to start a “dialogue” with his experts.

The media law lets the PiS treasury minister fire heads of state TV and radio at his personal discretion.

The constitutional changes insert PiS-friendly judges at the top court and make it harder for the tribunal to vet new laws.

PiS says the reforms are needed because media and judges in the past showed bias for a liberal elite associated with the opposition Civic Platform party.

Poland to trade UK welfare for Nato bases

Poland says willing to trade British welfare rights for UK support for Nato bases, as country edges closer to EU pariah status over domestic reforms.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

Opinion

EU must tackle Poland's bad behaviour

Developments in Washington only serve to highlight the need for positive action in the face of an overtly nationalistic and anti-rights form of populism.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  2. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  3. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  4. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  8. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  11. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  12. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"

Latest News

  1. Should Europeans spend more on defence?
  2. Dieselgate: EU disappointed with VW's treatment of customers
  3. French police raid Le Pen's party office
  4. The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: A refugee's story
  5. Greece and creditors break bailout deadlock
  6. Internal EU report exposes Libya turmoil
  7. EU commissioner condemns 'delay' in post-Dieselgate reform
  8. Sweden fights back as foreign leaders make up bad news