Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland

Kaczynski with Law and Justice prime minister Beata Szydlo in parliament (Photo: pis.org.pl)

 

The Polish government has accused the European Commission of “arrogance” and of “playing God” in a dispute on judicial reform.

Wednesday’s (26 July) barrage of reactions came after the Commission, earlier the same day, gave Poland one month to address concerns on political interference in the judiciary amid threats of an unprecedented EU voting penalty.

Zbigniew Ziobro, the Polish justice minister, said Frans Timmermans, the Dutch commissioner who delivered the ultimatum, had behaved with “insolence and arrogance” toward Poland and Polish people.

“Poland deserves respect and that’s what we’ll demand from you [Timmermans] and your colleagues”, he told a press briefing in the Polish parliament in Warsaw.

He said his ruling Law and Justice party needed to overhaul Polish courts to stamp out corruption and maladministration.

“Our task is to reform the judiciary in Poland. We will do it in a democratic way and no one will stop us,” he said.

Konrad Szymanski, Poland’s EU affairs minister, said Timmermans’ concerns were “groundless” and that “organisation of the judicial sphere is a national competence”.

The ministers’ reactions were among the more polite ones.

Rafal Bochenek, a Polish government spokesman, told Pap, the Polish press agency: “We won’t accept any blackmail on the part of EU officials, especially if it’s not based on facts.”

Ryszard Legutko, a Law and Justice MEP, accused Timmermans of “Brezhnevism”, comparing the EU Commission to the Soviet Union under its Cold War leader Leonid Brezhnev.

“The European Commission is trying to play God,” he said.

Another Law and Justice MEP, Zbigniew Kuzmiuk, said the Commission’s threat – to potentially suspend Poland’s voting rights in the EU Council – was an “atomic weapon”.

“This attempt to deprive Poland of its voice in the EU Council is a brutal interference in the Polish political system,” he said.

The Commission issued its warning after Law and Justice passed four laws on judicial reform.

Widening division

Full article: Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland (euobserver)

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