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Polish PM to hold talks with top EU officials amid tensions with Brussels

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 09.01.2018 11:24
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is on Tuesday scheduled to hold talks with top EU officials in Brussels amid tensions after the European Commission launched a procedure that could potentially end in sanctions against Poland.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLETEuropean Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Mateusz Morawiecki is scheduled to have talks with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, over dinner at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who is overseeing a rule of law procedure that the Commission is conducting against Poland, is also expected to take part in the meeting.

Juncker in December invited Morawiecki for talks in Brussels on January 9 to “intensify our discussions on all issues of mutual interest, including the rule of law.”

He extended the invitation after the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, on December 20 took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over controversial changes to the judicial system by the country’s ruling conservatives.

The Commission's move could pave the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland, for example suspending its voting rights in the European Union. But penalties on Warsaw would have to be backed unanimously by EU member states, while Hungary has said it would not support sanctions.

Referring to the European Commission’s Article 7 move, Juncker wrote on Twitter that “a genuine dialogue is the only way to overcome the differences we presently have.”

Morawiecki tweeted at the time that Poland was "as devoted to the rule of law as the rest" of the European Union.

He also wrote on Twitter that “the dialogue between the Commission and Warsaw needs to be both open and honest. I believe that Poland’s sovereignty and the idea of United Europe can be reconciled."

Poland has been a member of the EU since 2004.

On Monday, Juncker said in Brussels that the talks with Morawiecki would be an in-depth discussion covering a range of issues concerning Europe and Poland.

“We are not at war with Poland--far from that," Juncker said, as quoted by the DPA news agency. "But we are taking seriously on board Polish concerns and I would like our Polish friends to take seriously on board our own concerns."

Morawiecki has said that judiciary reform in Poland “is deeply needed.”

In an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner published in mid-December, Morawiecki said that Poland’s judicial system is “deeply flawed” and that the country’s ruling conservatives were elected with a mandate to overhaul it.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski in late December announced that the government would spend the next three months holding talks with European Union countries in response to the European Commission triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Warsaw.


Source: IAR

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