Members of the Polish government are describing a resolution passed by the European Parliament — arguing that rule of law and basic rights are increasingly deteriorating in Poland — is anti-democratic and an attack on Polish sovereignty.
The resolution was passed by 513 to 148 votes in the European Parliament. It was opposed by all MEPs from Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) but supported by all MPs from Poland’s Left and Civic Platform (PO). The Polish People’s Party (PSL) MEPs abstained, according to Polish news outlet Polsatnews.pl.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said that the European Parliament is questioning the very essence of democracy. It was effectively refusing to accept the decisions taken by the Polish electorate.
He noted that he had warned some time ago that the EU wants to make payment of EU funds conditional on Poland complying with Brussels’ demands and that it would block spending European funds using claims of homophobia or violation of European values as a pretext for so doing.
Other members of the Polish government also denounced the European Parliament resolution.
“This resolution is a cynical game. This is not a fight for the rule of law, but a fight against the rule of law. It is a fight against democracy and a cynical political game aimed solely at reducing financial support for Poland,” said Sebastian Kaleta, a secretary of state in the Polish Ministry of Justice, on a Twitter post.
? Ta rezolucja to cyniczna gra. To nie jest walka o praworządność, a walka z praworządnością. To walka z demokracją i cyniczna gra polityczna ukierunkowana wyłącznie by spowodować obniżenie wsparcia finansowego dla Polski.
— Sebastian Kaleta (@sjkaleta) September 17, 2020
Senior Polish MEP Prof. Ryszard Legutko also indicated that despite European treaties, it is clear that EU will ultimately find a way to punish Poland over LGBT issues and rule of law regardless of whether it is legal.
“Since they have got used to breaching treaties, they can do anything. They will always find some justification. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will not back us and will support anything the European Commission or the core EU countries say. LGBT rights are a holy grail for them, and we are in danger,” he said.
Ziobro accused EU officials of blackmailing Poland to change its customs and society.
“This is an attack on the very essence of democracy, it is a negation of democracy” he said.
Poland’s justice minister repeated his appeal for the government to refuse to support the EU over making payment of EU funds dependent on rule of law compliance.
“I trust that this will happen,” he added.
According to the minister, the European Parliament resolution is an example of how broadly the EU is beginning to interpret the meaning of the rule of law. It encapsulates not only the courts but also the media, culture and education.
“This means that the rule of law mechanism is to become a stick to beat Poland into line,” he warned.
Hungary, which has also been targeted with rule of law hearings at the European Parliament, has been a vocal supporter of Poland’s during recent rule of law hearings in Brussels.