European ministers meet on Polish disciplinary action

The decision will be made during a session of the European Union General Affairs Council.

Article 7 poland

Photo: European Commission

Today ministers for European affairs will meet at a session of the European Union General Affairs Council, where disciplinary action against Poland is expected.

Warsaw and the European Commission have been at odds over Poland overhauling its judiciary that critics claim has eroded the rule of law by giving the government too much power over judges.

The EU’s Article Seven sets up an infringement procedure against member states that have committed fundamental rights violations. The Council can first give a formal warning to the accused member state. If the state does not comply, the Council can then impose sanctions or even suspend voting rights.

Given that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has adopted a more conciliatory stance toward the EU — namely by reshuffling his cabinet last month — expect the Commission to stop short of fully invoking Article Seven. However, expect the formal warning to be issued to push Warsaw into compromising with EC negotiators. From there, Poland could either provide concrete reassurances it will reform its judiciary, which is likely, or chance the EU proceeding with the full invocation of Article Seven.

Delve deeper: The EU, Hungary and Poland: The good, the bad and the ugly

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