Sunday

21st Apr 2019

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

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

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.

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us