Poland should be punished for holding it presidential election, said Didier Reynders, the European Commission’s justice commissioner, with Reynders claiming he is concerned the ballot may be “compromised”.
Reynders’ call to punish Poland for holding democratic elections has prompted strong words from Patryk Jaki, a MEP from Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS).
Jaki said Reynders is attacking Poland’s sovereignty and acting as if “Poland was still partitioned” and did not exist as in the 19th century.
Reynders said regarding upcoming Polish elections that “decisions taken must be in line with the requirements of international law for the election to be fair and equal, in line with Article 2 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. Only in this way can the election be considered to be valid”.
During a meeting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Reynders said that the European Council needs to bring an action under Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would then allow the EU to sanction Poland financially and even lead to suspension of its voting rights over the matter.
The @EU_Commission continues to follow the state of the #RuleofLaw in #Poland with concern. In times of #COVID19 it is more important than ever for citizens to preserve an independent & well-functioning judiciary all over the #EU. The same is true for free & fair elections (2/2) pic.twitter.com/mpTTWvCmE7
— didier reynders (@dreynders) April 23, 2020
According to Jaki, Reynders statement indicates that the European Commission is interfering in Poland’s electoral process in addition to its internal judicial arrangements.
Jaki commented that “it would be good if the commissioner made himself aware of the treaties signed by Poland and all EU member states so that he learns that we have only surrendered specific competencies to European institutions and that the make-up of judicial systems is not among them”.
He added that it was strange for the European Commission to concern itself with this issue when it should be concentrating on coping with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis caused by it.
Jaki accused senior EU officials of “discrediting” the very idea of the EU.
The ruling party’s MEP also said it appears the European Commission wants to decide who should be president of Poland.
“We don’t need elections in Poland when the German, French and Belgian politicians can meet and tell us who our president should be,” he said.
Jaki feels that the EU will question any result that sees incumbent President Andrzej Duda victorious, but would be perfectly fine with the result if one of the opposition candidates won.
The Polish MEP also criticized Juan Fernando Lopez Aguillar, the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for declaring that Poland has been appointing ministers as judges.
“This is totally nonsensical, he could not name a single such individual,” said Jaki.