The European Union has threatened to invoke Article 7, a move which could see Poland lose its voting priveledges in the political bloc and possibly face sanctions over recently proposed judicial reforms.
The European Union announced Wednesday that it would be taking further steps against Poland for what it views as a “systematic threat to the rule of law.” The political bloc has criticised the Polish government’s proposed judicial reform in the past and is now eying a move that could suspend Warsaw’s vote within the union by invoking Article 7, Die Presse reports.
Poland’s ruling party has been pushing the reforms as a mean to tackle what they see as left-wing activist judges, and to introduce “Christian values” into the system.
EU Commission Vice-President Franz Timmermans has been a supporter of invoking Article 7 saying that Poland had “significantly undermined” the independence of the judiciary.
“I am no Nostradamus, I can not make large predictions, but I believe that the Polish people will not support the government when it comes to leaving the EU,” Timmermans argued.
Mr Timmermans also took to Twitter Wednesday afternoon claiming that the vote on Article 7 was close saying, “we are very close to triggering Article 7.”
Given the latest developments, we are getting very close to triggering article 7
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) July 19, 2017
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has also slammed the Polish government saying, “I can not imagine that German or Swedish taxpayers want to pay for the establishment of a kind of dictatorship in another EU country,” implying that the halting of EU money to Poland is also on the table.
The judicial reform bill was passed by the Law and Justice (PiS) government on Tuesday evening though not all have agreed with the bill. Polish President Andrzej Duda has called for key reforms to the bill saying, “this draft bill should stop the Council from being subject to a single party, a single political group. This is unacceptable… It would be seen as a political diktat.”
Strong opposition has also come from other Polish political parties. PiS politician Jaroslaw Kaczynski called those opposing the reforms “traitors.” He said that the reforms were the will of his brother, the former president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski and that the opposition was violating that will.
“Do not take the name of my deceased brother into your treacherous mouths, you who have destroyed and murdered him,” Kaczynski said. President Lech Kaczynski was killed while on board an aeroplane in 2010 which some say was an “act of aggression” by Russia.
In order for Article 7 to be passed the European Union requires the consent of a qualified majority which entails the vote of either 55 percent of the member states or countries representing at least 65 percent of the total EU population.
Article 7 has also been threatened against Hungary after the country made sweeping reforms that hindered the ability of the George Soros founded Central European University to operate.