“We are at crunch time with Poland,” MEP says

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It’s crunch time on Poland, Renew MEP Sophie In’t Veld said, adding that she was disappointed in the latest European Commission decision to endorse a €36 billion fund to the country.

Warsaw has been criticised by the EU after political decisions to empower the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court to punish magistrates who were suspected of engaging in “political activity.” Potential penalties included fines, salary cuts and outright suspension. The United Nations and the European Union see the reform as dangerous encroachment by the executive branch upon the judicial arm of the state and, therefore, a threat to the separation of powers.

Changes to the way in which justices are appointed were also criticised for giving greater influence to politicians, to the detriment of professional judges.

“The moment that the European Commission gives one penny to Poland, the European Parliament should do what it’s elected to do and send the Commission packing,” In’t Veld said.

The bloc could do more but it is being stopped by the European Council – the arm of the EU made of heads of states and governments.

“Even if they are concerned or critical of Member States, they are extremely reluctant to intervene because they want to keep the EU weak,” she said.

She questioned whether an intergovernmental Europe still functions for the world of today.

Maltese MEP Cyrus Engerer agreed with her and drew a clear distinction between Member States like Poland and other countries like Malta.

“In Malta, no one had any trouble meeting [EU officials], while in other countries they refused to meet us or attacked us on Twitter,” Engerer said.

You can watch the full interview here.

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