EU Parliament

Poland to be STRIPPED of EU voting rights as MERKEL doesn’t agree with domestic reforms

POLAND could be stripped of its voting rights in the European Union after Angela Merkel revealed her outrage with the country’s controversial domestic and judicial reforms.

Poland and the EU are locked in a bitter battle over the rule of law, with Brussels saying planned changes to how judges are appointed and fired are in contravention of European law.If Poland breaks EU law, Brussels bureaucrats have threatened the nation with invoking Article 7.

The opening of a procedure for the abolition of voting rights under Article 7 of the EU Treaty would be a unique step in EU history and move which the Commission can do.

Senior ministers in Warsaw, including the prime minister Beta Sdyzlo, hit back – accusing eurocrats of sticking their noses into what is a purely domestic affair.

And now German Chancellor  has also waded in, insisting Germany “cannot keep our mouths shut” on the issue despite wanting to maintain good relations with “neighbour” Poland.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on yesterday, she stressed the rule of law was “the basis for cooperation within the EU”.

Angela MerkelAFP

Angela Merkel said the rule of law debate was a

Angela MerkelREUTERS

Angela Merkel said Germany “cannot keep our mouths shut”

And she described the question over the rule of law as a “serious issue” as she warned it could dramatically impact EU workings.Mrs Merkel said: “This is a serious issue because the requirements for cooperation within the  are the principles of the rule of law. I take what the Commission says on this very seriously.

“As much as I want good relations with Poland, our neighbour… we cannot simply hold our tongues and not say anything for the sake of peace and quiet.”

But the Polish government quickly responded to the Chancellor’s statements with sharp counter-criticism, accusing Mrs Merkel of having ulterior motives.

Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel

Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro said: “These statements confirm that it is only politics and nothing else, and that the facts do not count.”At the international level, we could also discuss the serious problems of Germany with regard to standards in the areas of democracy, freedom, freedom of speech and media.”

And he insisted the Polish government will continue to pursue its plans despite Ms Merkels’ unwelcome comments.

Member States can actually decide whether or not to cut rights or to withdraw the right to vote but it would require a unanimous decision by EU countries. Poland’s ally Hungary has already announced they would veto the move.

European Union Parliament Guy VerhofstadtEPA

The EU said it would launch legal action against Poland over the judicial reform

Angela MerkelEPA

Ms Merkel stressed the rule of law was “the basis for cooperation within the EU”

Warsaw’s reply seems to signal that the ruling nationalist and eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party has no intention of backing down on its plans.The Commission said in July it would launch legal action against Poland over the judicial reforms.

Brussels added if the government started firing Supreme Court judges, the Commission would move to suspend Poland’s voting rights in the EU — an unprecedented punishment which would, however, require the unlikely unanimous support of all other EU governments.

It comes after openly critical statements from French President Emmanuel Macron, who warned Poland was isolating itself within the EU and said Polish citizens “deserved better”.

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