1st Jun 2023

EU Commission shrugs off Polish threats on rule-of-law

  • PiS chair Jarosław Kaczyński: 'If the European Commission does not fulfil its obligations towards Poland then we have no reason to fulfil our obligations towards the EU' (Photo:
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The European Commission says nothing has changed in its rule of law dispute with Poland after Warsaw threatened to turn its "cannons" on the Brussels-executive.

Poland will not receive €35bn in Covid-19 recovery grants and loans because its judicial reforms still fall short, Arianna Podesta, European Commission spokesperson told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday (9 August).

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Poland had adopted a law to replace its disputed disciplinary chamber for judges with a new body.

But the commission says it's not good enough, noting that judges remain at risk.

"Poland needs to fulfil the commitments it made to reform the disciplinary regime," said Podesta, adding that Poland had also not made any payment requests to obtain the funds.

The statements follow a barrage of threats from the ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

PiS chair Jarosław Kaczyński and secretary generał Krzysztof Sobolewski both ratcheted up the dispute in comments made over the past few days.

Kaczyński claimed that the European Commission had broken agreements with the Polish government and that Warsaw would no longer fulfil its obligations towards the European Union, without giving details of what he meant.

"If the European Commission does not fulfil its obligations towards Poland then we have no reason to fulfil our obligations towards the EU," he said.

He also claimed the move was a German led plot to create a weak and submissive Poland.

Similar comments were made by Sobolewski, who said Warsaw would take legal action against commission.

He also said efforts would be made to unseat commission president Ursula von der Leyen and her college of commissioners.

"If there is an attempt to block the payment ... and the European Commission tries to pressure us, then we have no choice but to pull out all the cannons in our arsenal and respond with a barrage of fire," he told Polish public radio.

Polish opposition leaders say such threats cannot be taken seriously.

Grzegorz Schetyna of the opposition Civic Platform describe the comments made by Kaczyński as a "symbol of madness and decline."

For its part, the European Commission refused to comment on the threats.

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