European Commission launches investigation of Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
The European Commission said Wednesday it was starting a probe into whether controversial laws pushed through by Poland's new Law and Justice (PiS) government violate EU standards.
EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans. Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
The move by the European Union, which surprised many observers, follows a slew of international criticism over changes to the judiciary and media in Poland.
Critics claim these undermine democracy. The Polish government has fiercely rebutted such claims.
"Today we have decided that the Commission will carry out a preliminary assessment of this matter under the rule of law framework," EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said.
He added that he was open to dialogue with Poland and willing to visit Warsaw.
“Our aim is to solve these issues. Our aim is not to accuse; to go into a polemic,” he said.
The Commission’s move could potentially trigger a process that could ultimately lead to penalties being imposed on Poland.
The Commission said it would assess the situation in Poland again in March.
“I’ve just signed a letter to Polish authorities inviting them to start a dialogue on these questions, and I’ve also indicated that I am at their disposal any time to go to Warsaw to have a discussion about this,” Timmermans added.
“Let me stress very clearly. This is a cooperative approach by the European Commission. This is how we see our role as guardian of the Treaty, to have a dialogue with the member states if there is something that needs to be discussed.”