The proposal to link the payment of EU funds to rule of law compliance is an attempt to bring down conservative government, according to MEP Witold Waszczykowski, who previously served as Poland’s foreign minister.
Waszczykowski says that attempts to create a mechanism by which the European Commission could withhold EU funds from selected member states is ideological and political rather than any attempt to defend the rule of law, according to Polish news outlet TVP Info.
He accused those Polish MEPs who voted for the measure of being against Poland.
The European Parliament on Wednesday voted for the adoption of a mechanism for withholding EU funds from member states which violate key values of the EU such as the rule of law and basic rights, with Hungary and Poland the clear targets of the measure. A report on which the decision was based alleges that some EU states do not respect the rights of LGBT people.
The report on the mechanism for sanctions was supported by the four largest groupings in the European Parliament: the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists and Democrats, Liberals, and Greens.
It was opposed by deputies from the European Conservative Reformers (ECR), of which Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) is a part of, MEPs from Hungary’s Fidesz party who are EPP members, politicians belonging to the far right.
Wasczykowski told TVP Info that the mechanism proposed, if implemented, would constitute a breach of EU treaties which specify that judicial systems are the competence of the member states. EU institutions are therefore usurping power, he believes.
According to the former Polish foreign minister, the action is ideological, going well beyond legal norms.
“It has nothing to do with the rule of law. Let us not be naïve, this is an attempt to force through an ideology and to block or even overthrow conservative governments,” he said.
Polish MEP Prof. Ryszard Legutko also warned last month that the European Commission and other European Union institutions have become so used to breaking EU treaties and that they will not hesitate to do so again to punish Poland.
In Waszczykowski’s view, those Polish MEPs who voted in favor of this measure were betraying Poland.
“These actions are contrary to Poland’s national interest. It is totally naïve to claim that you can create instruments that will punish governments rather than Polish society. The resources in question are not for the government, they are for the state budget and are used to fund infrastructure. To vote for these to be stopped is to vote against the interests of Poles,” he said.