Tuesday

16th Apr 2024

No place for Polish 'war' rhetoric, Commission says

Listen to article

The European Commission says rhetoric about "war" has no place in Europe, following an interview with the Financial Times by Poland's prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

"There is no place for rhetoric referring to war among the member states or between the member states and institutions of the European Union," the commission's chief spokesperson, Eric Mamer, said on Monday (25 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

The reaction came after the Polish PM, in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, described the commission as being on a war-path against Warsaw.

He evoked images of the EU holding a "gun to our head" and warned the commission against starting "the third world war" by withholding billions in recovery funds.

The long-standing dispute between Warsaw and the EU over the judicial independence of Polish courts came to a head when an October ruling by the country's controversial top court questioned the primacy of EU law.

The stand-off with the commission has delayed the approval of some €36bn in a Covid-19 economic recovery package for Poland.

Morawiecki had used similar combative comments when addressing the European Parliament last week, saying Poland would not bow to EU "blackmail".

The European Parliament, in response, passed a resolution describing the Polish ruling as an "attack on the European community of values and laws as a whole."

The parliament has also been at odds with the European Commission for more action, and wants it to trigger a "rule of law mechanism" to dock billions of other EU funds to Poland for undermining the rule of law.

But it has also accused the Brussels-executive of dragging out the dispute, thus enabling the Polish government led by the nationalist conservative Law and Order party (PiS).

Parliament president David Sassoli has since announced the parliament was preparing legal action against the commission.

"EU member states that violate the rule of law should not receive EU funds," he said, in a statement.

"Last year, parliament fought hard for a mechanism to ensure this. However, so far the European commission has been reluctant to use it," he said.

Hungary: Brussels 'like Soviet Union'

But Poland also has friends ready to come to its defence.

Lithuania's president Gitanas Nauseda recently warned against tying the rule of law to EU funding, after a meeting with his Polish counterpart.

And over the weekend, Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán took a more defiant stand, in speech commemorating the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union.

Launching what is expected to be his campaign ahead of the April 2022 general election, Orbán used combative language accusing the EU of possibly meddling in the upcoming election, and supporting the opposition.

"They [opposition parties] have been competing to see which of them could rule over Hungarians by the grace of Brussels and George Soros as their governor in Hungary [...]," he said of the recent collective opposition primary, where voters chose conservative Péter Márki-Zay as Orbán's challenger.

Orbán has been painting Hungarian-born US billionaire philantroist George Soros as his nemesis for years.

"They openly say that to regain power they will even join forces with the devil. Their aim is to take Hungary from the hands of Mary and put it at the feet of Brussels," Orbán said.

He also spoke of Hungary being on God's side of history in the face of conquered enemies of the past and then drew parallels to the European Union.

"Today the words and actions that Brussels directs at us and the Poles are like those usually reserved for enemies," he claimed.

His justice minister Judit Varga also compared the Soviet Union to the European Union.

"We remember the Hungarian freedom fighters who faced Soviet tanks on the streets in Budapest. We said no to the Soviet empire & we say no to the #imperial ambitions of #Brussels," she tweeted.

Hungary is set to receive over €7bn in grants under the EU's coronavirus response fund, worth around five percent of its GDP.

Von der Leyen vows action against Poland

Ursula von der Leyen said the commission might use either an infringement procedure, an EU probe into the ruling, the new tool of conditionality which could lead to the suspension of EU funds, or the Article 7 sanctions procedure.

Poland vows not to give into EU 'blackmail' at summit

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte suggested Poland's Covid-19 recovery money should not be approved until Warsaw respects the rulings of the European Court of Justice and dispels doubts about the independence of its judiciary.

Opinion

Potential legal avenues to prosecute Navalny's killers

The UN could launch an independent international investigation into Navalny's killing, akin to investigation I conducted on Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, or on Navalny's Novichok poisoning, in my role as special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, writes the secretary-general of Amnesty International.

Latest News

  1. EU puts Sudan war and famine-risk back in spotlight
  2. EU to blacklist Israeli settlers, after new sanctions on Hamas
  3. Private fears of fairtrade activist for EU election campaign
  4. Brussels venue ditches far-right conference after public pressure
  5. How German police pulled the plug on a Gaza conference
  6. EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK
  7. EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint
  8. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us