EU Unsure How to Sanction Poland Over Reform Issue

Poland faces the possibility of losing its voting rights in the European Union over issues related to democracy and the rule of law. The EU is trying to determine whether to apply Article 7 — a measure intended to punish countries seen as violating fundamental rights.

In its 60-year history, the European Union has never had to trigger Article 7.

When the regional grouping gave Poland until the end of February to implement several reforms to its judicial independence and democratic institutions, it seemed that Article 7 might be the next step if the EU determined that Poland was not putting enough reforms in place. Even though the deadline passed this week, it is not clear what steps the commission can take next.

Much has changed in Poland since the 2015 win of the conservative right wing PiS, Law and Justice Party. The party blocked the initial picks for the Polish constitutional court and presented its own candidates. That was followed by a crackdown on media outlets and journalists, mass demonstrations against proposed extremely conservative laws and political appointments on all levels. That led the European Commission to warn Poland.

Demonstrators display Polish and European Union flags during the third day of a protest outside the Parliament building in Warsaw, Dec. 18, 2016.

Situation described at ‘dramatic’

Katarzyna Morton is an active member of KOD, the Polish Committee for the Defense of Democracy. She describes the situation under the current…

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