On November 20, the ruling Law and Justice celebration adopted a decision supporting the federal government’s announcement to veto to hyperlink EU funds to the respect of the rule of legislation. The overwhelming majority of the opposition voted in opposition to this decision. The opening phrases of this political manifesto reads that “the Parliament of the Republic of Poland notices and reminds that the Republic of Poland is a democratic and sovereign state ruled by law.” The governing celebration’s need to inform the world that the rule of legislation is current in Poland recollects the phrases of Margaret Thatcher that “being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
The decision serves home functions. The Law and Justice celebration likes to current itself as a defender of “sovereignty” and “traditional values” endangered by the European integration. According to Poland’s prime minister, the rule of legislation is just a propaganda mechanism for the EU that resembles Communist occasions. Apart from exhibiting the muscle tissue on Polish soil, the ruling celebration, in tandem with Viktor Orban’s authorities in Hungary, threatens to dam the 2021-27 EU monetary framework and coronavirus restoration fund.
While the rule of legislation conditionality requires a professional majority within the Council, each the Polish and Hungarian authorities determined to make use of their veto powers within the ultimate stage of EU price range talks that set the parameters for the brand new rule of legislation mechanism. This isn’t any shock, since each governments have been often and rightly accused of violating the rule of legislation and abusing political powers.
Since 2015, there have been many assaults on the independence of the judiciary and particular person judges in Poland which led to the deterioration of Poland’s place in numerous indices measuring the rule of legislation, particular person liberties, and the standard of democratic establishments. The European Commission responded by suggestions below the Rule of Law Framework, by triggering Article 7(1) and by infringement procedures earlier than the Court of Justice.
The rule of legislation mechanism is much from good however it’s higher than nothing. The EU ought to be conscious that the scenario is pressing and the rule of legislation in Poland, Hungary and different member states issues not just for the residents of those nations but in addition for the way forward for the European venture as a membership of nations with high-quality democratic establishments safeguarding human rights and particular person liberties.
The Law and Justice positions itself as a defender of Polish nationwide curiosity. But Poland’s precise curiosity is to keep up a robust place throughout the EU and the prevalence of the rule of legislation – irrespectively whether or not it’s linked to EU funding. EU funds, if spent properly, matter and Poland continues to be a web beneficiary of its membership. But Poland’s membership within the Single Market is much more vital than the cohesion funds. In 2019, Poland acquired €11 billion of web transfers from the Union’s price range. But on the similar time, due to full entry to different European economies, Poland’s GDP was €56 billion euros larger.
In order to strengthen the Single Market and problem the intra-EU protectionism, Polish authorities ought to have a stronger place within the EU. That shouldn’t be potential whereas the rule of legislation, expressed in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, is below fixed assault. Moreover, a stable degree of the rule of legislation is vital for entrepreneurs because it permits to construct a steady surroundings for doing enterprise and financial progress.
All in all, if Poland’s authorities is fearful that the rule of legislation conditionality will likely be triggered to cut back the influx of some EU funds, there are some easy treatments. Do not assault the independence of the judiciary. Do not politicise courts. Do not abuse the prosecutorial workplace to struggle with political opponents. Reverse the insurance policies that weakened Poland’s institutional system. In sum, don’t violate the rule of legislation and the EU funds will maintain coming, Poland place within the EU and the Single Market will likely be stronger, and financial progress – important for the post-Covid restoration, will likely be larger. This approach – not the veto – is the curiosity of Poland and the European Union.