EU urges Poland to meet deadline on sanctions

Brussels on December 20 launched unprecedented legal action against Warsaw over "systemic threats" to the independence of the Polish judiciary, and gave it three months to say how it will comply.

EU urges Poland to meet deadline on sanctions

World Bulletin / News Desk

The European Union urged Poland's right-wing government to meet Tuesday's deadline to answer concerns about Warsaw's judicial reforms or risk never-used-before sanctions.

"I have to stress once again: today is the deadline," European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told a press conference after EU ministers discussed the issue.

"The Polish have time until the end of today to come with their response. I do expect them to do that," Timmermans said in Brussels. 

"We are now eagerly awaiting the Polish response."

Timmermans said the Commission -- the executive arm and enforcer of the 28-nation EU -- will then analyse the response before ministers meet again next month to assess whether "steps forward were made or not."

The stakes are high if Warsaw fails to satisfy Brussels.

It could be stripped of its voting rights in the bloc under the Article 7 procedure of the EU treaty -- covering systemic threats to the rule of law -- which had never been previously used against an EU state.

However, Poland's ally Hungary, which has also clashed with Brussels over democracy issues, has vowed to veto any sanction.

The Dutch commissioner said the ministers agreed Tuesday that the white paper Warsaw delivered to Brussels on March 8 "was not the answer" to European concerns.

"This is a white paper stating again Polish positions," Timmermans said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his government expected a "deep and serious analysis" of a 96-page white paper he gave to Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker 10 days ago.

The Polish document warned sanctions could create a "dangerous precedent" for undermining the sovereignty of EU member states.

It could also lead to "a possible strengthening of anti-European sentiment that has been more and more apparent," it added. 

Last Mod: 20 Mart 2018, 17:34
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