EU launches probe into new Polish laws


#1

BBC:

EU launches probe into new Polish laws

Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced a “preliminary assessment” under the EU’s “rule of law mechanism”.Critics of Poland’s right-wing government protested at changes to the Constitutional Court and media laws.
The EU mechanism allows the Commission to press a member state to change any measure considered a “systemic threat” to fundamental EU values.

The step comes after President Andrzej Duda approved controversial laws enabling the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government to appoint the heads of public TV and radio, and choose judges for Poland’s constitutional court.
Addressing the Polish parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo denied that her government had violated democratic norms.

“Democracy is alive and well in Poland,” she insisted, adding that the government was carrying out a programme backed by Poles in the October general election that the brought the PiS to power.

The Polish government has played down the significance of the European Commission’s decision, saying it was “standard procedure”.
Government spokesman Rafal Bochenek said the Commission had only discussed Poland because of “speculation” in Western Europe. He added the decision would have no negative impact on relations between Warsaw and Brussels.

Foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski told Reuters news agency the Commission had no right to evaluate changes to Poland’s public media law and it had overlooked recent changes in the make-up of the Constitutional Court, which has decided to take in two judges nominated by the governing Law and Justice party.

So the EU has a right to intervene if a country elects the “wrong” party into power? There’s a video accompanying the story that points out the Poles equate the EU not with Brussels but Berlin and, of course they don’t want no stinkin’ Germans telling them what to do.


#2

It has the right to inquire as to whether the actions of a particular EU government flout things like the basic idea of the ‘rule of law’ inherent in its treaties.


#3

Well, they can always leave if they don’t like it but money talks doesn’t it.


#4

I thot Poland was Catholic in culture, why
and what is the point of censorship of the
media?


#5

Your backing the wrong side on this one Didymus, I’m afraid :cool:

Lech Walesa, the famous Catholic leader of the Solidarity Trade Union that did so much to bring down Soviet rule in Eastern Europe, has also flagrantly opposed the new PiS Polish government’s attempts to curtail press freedom and the independence of the judiciary:

foxnews.com/world/2016/01/14/eu-scrambles-as-protests-erupt-in-poland-over-government-media-takeover.html

Relations between Poland and the European Union’s leaders hit a new low Wednesday, as the bloc’s executives met to investigate Poland’s recent limitations on democracy.

**The move followed protests last weekend in Warsaw, where tens of thousands of Polish supporters of democracy braved the bitter cold to decry a new law empowering the government to muzzle state radio and television.

The law, rushed through the Sejm (Parliament) by the governing Law and Justice Party (known by its Polish acronym as PiS), gives the government complete control of state radio and television**. Key managers have been sacked and replaced with PiS political appointees. The European Union has condemned this action.

**Many moderate Poles who thought PiS would be an alternative to its corrupt predecessor, the Civic Platform, were soon disappointed. Just one month after the PiS landslide victory, 56 percent of Poles said that democracy was threatened, according to a national poll conducted last November.

Lech Walesa, who led the Solidarity movement against Communist oppression, has joined in the denunciation of the government. “This government acts against freedom and democracy,” he said. “Not to mention that it makes us look ridiculous to the rest of the world.” Walesa was president of Poland from 1990 to 1995.**

“The state media will no longer serve as the public’s watchdog,” said Dorota Glowacka, an attorney at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, in a phone interview with Fox News from the foundation’s Warsaw branch.

PiS introduced another bill that gives law enforcement access to the Internet activity of citizens without requiring court consent. Opposition lawmaker Krzysztof Brejza warned such legislation turns Poland into an Orwellian state where surveillance is everywhere.

Glowacka echoed this fear. “It’s a step toward uncontrolled mass surveillance,” she said. “That’s my biggest worry.”

**These lightening-swift changes since the October 25 election have crippled the nation’s top court, fundamentally changed the professional civil service, and now threaten to make the public media an arm of government policy.

“It reminds me of the Communist takeover of the country in the 1940’s,” said Andrzej Zoll, a former ombudsman for the constitutional court.**

The EU is defending the democratic press freedom that is so central to Western values, whether in Europe or America.

PiS are eroding liberal democracy and constitutionalism in Poland.

It isn’t the EU that are in the wrong here but rather PiS.

If PiS are deemed by the EU Commission to be infringing on press freedom and judicial independence (separation of powers) then Poland has acted illegally under its treaty commitments and the EU is at full liberty to take action against Poland by suspending its voting rights or initiating other sanctions until the country desists from breaking the constitutional law of the Union to which it has acceded and is legally obligated to obey.

And mark my words: the Polish government will bluster and talk tough if the Commission finds it has acted illegally but it knows where the “bread is buttered” so to speak.

Poland has received £56bn in development funds from the EU budget between 2007 and 2013, money that was used to construct highways, roads, sports facilities, modern sewerage systems, kindergartens, pre-schools and much else in terms of infrastructure. A further £60bn was designated for Poland in the EU’s 2014-20 budget, meaning that it will have been lavished with a subsidy equivalent to double that of the post-war US Marshall Plan, if calculated in today’s dollars.

Watch this space…


#6

Because Poles, weary with corruption in the previously reigning Civic Platform Party, voted for a far-right movement in the hopes that it would represent a “new politics”. Many of them are regretting that vote now.


#7

The Law and Justice party has quite a positive platform, with what many conservatives would see as favorable positions on abortion, homosexual rights, and refugees. On the other side, several of the anti government protests look quite similar to the Euromaidan in Ukraine, i,e, a sea of EU flags, which should tell us exactly who’s behind the protests.


#8

Last time I checked Lech Walesa was a devout Catholic and socially conservative:

Wałęsa is a devout Roman Catholic.[12] He is a staunch opponent of abortion, and has said that he would rather have resigned the presidency twenty times than sign into law a bill permitting abortion in Poland.[65] In an interview for Polish television in 2012, Wałęsa said that, as a Catholic, he opposes in vitro fertilization and same-sex marriage. At a political campaign rally in 2000 he said regarding gay people, “I believe those people need medical treatment”, continuing with “Imagine if all people were like that. We wouldn’t have any descendants.”[66] As part of the same interview in 2012, he said that if his son were a homosexual he would pray for him to “step down from the wrong way”.[67]

Your attempt to characterize this debacle as “conservative vs progressive” is fallacious. If anything it is a matter of “the rule of law vs arbitrary rule”.


#9

You are wrong on this account Lech wales is a traitor to poles. The only people who consider a Polish hero are the non polish general media that never look into it. He was a double agent for the communists with the code name Bolek. He is an enemy of the polish right. Him and his cronies illegally staged a coup against the conservative Olszewski government when they threatened to reveal him and his patsies suitcases which detailed their corruption. If he is conservative why is he part of the PO party that supports ideology gender of transsexuals, why does he stay quiet when the PO tried to pass Homoxecual union laws in Poland blocked only by PIS that you dislike, why does he attack the only polish media in poland that is pro catholic like radio maryja and tv tram? He’s a liar who broke every promise he ever made when he became president and he was buddy buddy with communist atheists like Kwasniewski

Why did no one care when the PO government blocked polish catholic media? The PO is a far left party that takes votes from anticlerical priest bashers, atheist secularists progressives. They were threatening people that PIS would return people to the nasty times of religion and such in Poland what they called the middle ages. People who go to church in Poland and support the churches teachings are opposed to the PO they are beyond corrupt and subservient to the Germans who are angry that they have lost a useful idiot that they could milk because a patriotic government came in.


#10

Why do you call PIS far right? Because they listen to the church on social issues unlike western politicians and the PO which is trying to outsecualrize the west. Then call the church far right and your religion far right if thats the case. Its is the PO which is far left and anti polish only listening to the Germans. PIS cares about children about welfare and gives support to mothers with children, that is not “far right”.


#11

The western values of which you speak that PO are trying to bring are secularism ideology gender. They have aggressively tried to secularize Poland and many PO supporters form the group that hate the church. The EU has secularized Poland only 40 percent go to church. My aunts who who supper Po hate the church and proudly say that those “fat stomach” priests are preaching to empty buildings now.

The reason why the EU media is going so aggressively against PIS is for one PIS are a true goverment not like your western ones which have different colors but are all secular humanist Real change scares the secular EU. Number two the Germans who rule over the EU have lost a useful idiot/yes man in Poland. The Po government made it its duty to serve their German masters. Banks media business was all done for Germans in Poland by the PO. Everything Merkel said PO unquestionably followed. Now they loosed their influence so now people like schultz attack us.

The PO’s former leader for being such a good follower Donald tusk got a bribe payment from Germany and now he has money and easy time as an EU eurocrat. A good sellout who jumped to leave Poland than.

People who voted for PIS are very proud that PIS is fighting for Poland . We could be no happier and will continue supporting them for their courageous fight.


#12

Very true I have heard from TV trwam that people like Soros have been putting money into the fake “democracy” protestors.


#13

The media in Poland is very biased much more so than in America. There is no free speech in polish press. Only pro PO party pro secularist media was allowed. No religious voices, or patraitc voices were heard on TV. The media brainwashed people nonstop in Poland to think hateful things against PIS why they say awful things about our presidents daughter about Kaczynski even his dead brother. The propaganda is unrelenting and kit is they who like they always were are attacking our government nonstop but especially now because they are in danger.

If Poland is to keep its catholic culture the media must be dealt with. It is an evil media. PIs should move strongly and absolutely on the media matter because without having a sane media a normal media, they have no chance of reform.


#14

Here’s the most recent cover of the Polish news magazine Wprost macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/28686/53/ It’s not an accurate analogy of the situation, but it does reflect growing Polish anger with the German dominated EU.


#15

You speak as if Germany is some big scary behemoth.

Angela Merkel is about as terrifying as a dachshund puppy.

It is nothing short of Germanophobia.

Thankfully, the German press and society is among the freest in the entire world. So yes, the Germans do have the moral high-ground today and fanciful allusions to the Nazi past do not alter that reality a jot.

Indeed if Germany has any problems today, it’s that it is too softie-softie as illustrated by the migrant crisis. I’m glad to see the EU and the Germans taking a stand for once.


#16

Germany is very angry that they have lost a sort of colony and subservient government in Poland. It is why they are the ones putting forth this propaganda. A former masters angry to see their fiefdom begin to slip away.

Germanophobia? Quite frankly there is a polish phobia to the point that German Nazi concentration camps are rebranded as Polish in German media. When the man who’s ancestors destroyed Poland, Schultz has the nerve to call us fascist when we suffered from his people? I think Kukiz and his grandson remark put that down well.

Free media? A joke. Is this the same free media that covered for Merkel’s immigrants at Cologne". This is “freedom” of course in the German sense. Nothing to do with the truth or fairness. How “undemocratic” to sensor information to cover for Merkel’s disastrous policy on immigrants, and censoring German citizens response to this on social media. Very fascist control. Truly the new totalitarianism and control of freedom of media in Germany, maybe they should get investigated instead.

Why pick on Poland, what do you have against poles that you want some sort of Eurocrat retribution on the?. Why not Germany for trying to dictate tons of migrants to other countries when they have not vetted those people and are going to impose them on other countries. Why not stand up to the Uk which constantly blackmails the EU with leaving unless it gets special treatment. Or the UKs terrible actions against the northern Irish. Is that democratic? But no let us pick on Catholic Poland, which has no army to threaten anyone and PIS because they dare be a party with some values.

But then you admire PO which tried to give Poland gay civil unions and Walesa a traitor who worked for the soviets as agent Bolek.


#17

Here’s what Gunther Oettinger, pictured on the magazine cover I posted a link to, said about Greece back in 2011.

                                        Germany’s EU commissioner Günther Oettinger said Europe should send blue helmets to take control of Greek tax collection and liquidate state assets. [telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8755881/Germany-and-Greece-flirt-with-mutual-assured-destruction.html](http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8755881/Germany-and-Greece-flirt-with-mutual-assured-destruction.html)

#18

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