Democracy Challenged In Insane New Way

To end years of legal wrangling and allay fears of a democratic retreat, Poland’s new administration has laid out a course of action. 

Critics claim that Poland’s judiciary is now politically controlled due to justice changes implemented by the nationalist Law and Justice party, which came to power in 2015. Since then, the country has conflicted with the EU’s executive body. In 2017, the European Commission initiated a legislative procedure called Article 7, which implied that Poland’s voting rights in the EU could be suspended “to protect the rule of law in Europe.” Additionally, due to worries about the rule of law, the commission has denied it access to billions of euros in EU money.

The newly elected Polish government, which took office in October, has proposed measures to allay EU fears. According to Vice President Vera Jourova of the European Commission, this is the first encouraging development that might lead to the procedure’s termination under Article 7. European affairs ministers met in Brussels to hear Polish Justice Minister Adam Bodnar’s “action plan” for breaking the impasse, which included proposed laws to do just that. 

Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib of Belgium, now serving as the EU’s rotating president, praised the ministers’ “extremely positive” response. Jourova did point out that the action plan is a step in the direction that might lead to the closure of Article 7, but there is much work to be done. 

The commission’s mandate is set to expire on October 31st, following the June EU-wide elections. Friday will see Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s journey to Warsaw as she campaigns for a second term in office.

A democratic process is necessary to reverse the previous administration’s policies, according to EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. He assured reporters that the government and commission must be sure that they are restoring the rule of law in Poland, after so many years of breaches to the rule of law, but in full respect of the rule of law, while addressing the many years of violations.