A senior eurocrat has accused Poland of “abdicating” its leading role in Central Europe by refusing to bend to the EU’s demands on migrant quotas and internal judicial reforms, and warned the country poses a greater existential threat to the bloc than Brexit.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who sits on the EU’s unelected central executive as Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs, claimed Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) represents “a greater danger for the EU than Brexit”, according to the Daily Express.
“Poland has abdicated its role as leader of this part of Europe. It will take a very long time and I think never to rebuild its position,” she added.
Bieńkowska is herself from Poland, and was appointed to the European Commission by former prime minister Donald Tusk — who side-stepped into the well-remunerated role of President of the European Council shortly before his centrist Civic Platform party was swept out of office by Law and Justice in a landslide election defeat.
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) October 2, 2017
The EU has taken exception to Poland’s efforts to improve the largely self-selecting judiciary’s accountability to the Polish parliament, as part of a wider package of reforms aimed at reducing the continued influence of holdovers from the country’s Cold War era communist regime.
European Commission First Vice-president Frans Timmermans has threatened that the EU could even go so far as to activate Article 7 proceedings against Poland, which could lead to a suspension of its voting rights within the bloc.
Asked if he was not concerned that this could lead to Poland departure from the EU, the Dutchman boasted: “[T]here is no way the Polish people will support a government to leave the European Union.”
Poland: EU Will Not ‘Impose a Social Catastrophe’ with Migrant Quotas https://t.co/dAlcrPH05O
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 3, 2017
Critics believe the EU is tightening the screws on Poland because, like Hungary, it is resisting its attempts to redistribute migrants across EU member-states through a mandatory quota system.
They have pointed to the Commission’s relative indifference to Spanish police brutality in Catalonia — which Timmermans and others have described as an “internal matter” — as evidence that the EU is selective in its interference.
“The double standards of the Commission is something that leaps to the eye,” commented Polish MEP Ryszard Legutko.