Brussels launches unprecedented EU inquiry into rule of law in Poland
时间：2019-11-16 责任编辑：轩辕娈浦 来源：兴发娱乐平台 点击：205 次
The has launched an unprecedented inquiry in response to controversial Polish legislation that puts more power into the hands of the country’s staunchly conservative government.
The decision marks the first time EU authorities have launched a formal investigation into the rule of law in a member state.
Announcing the inquiry, Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the commission, the EU’s executive body, said officials in Brussels had an obligation to ensure the rule of law was upheld across the EU, and that they were concerned about the functioning of Poland’s highest court.
“The binding rulings of the constitutional tribunal [Poland’s highest legislative court] are currently not respected, which I believe is a serious matter in any rule of law-dominated state,” he said.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party passed a law last month overhauling the constitutional tribunal, which critics say removes checks on government power.
Although changes to Poland’s constitutional tribunal dominated Wednesday’s 45-minute discussion in Brussels, Timmermans also raised concerns about “freedom and pluralism of the media”.
Last week the government fired managers and board members of Poland’s public broadcasters, after passing a law giving the executive power to appoint the heads of state TV and radio. The , a non-EU organisation that promotes human rights, has described the arrangement as “unacceptable in a genuine democracy”.
In theory, the launch of the European commission’s inquiry could lead to being stripped of its voting rights in the EU, but insiders are playing down this possibility.
Neither is Poland likely to be expelled from this year’s Eurovision song contest. A spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the annual event, said Poland was not going to be blacklisted, adding that the EBU was “heavily campaigning” against Poland’s media law.
Officials in Brussels are anxious to avoid confrontation with PiS and create division within the EU. “The college [of commissioners] did not decide today to bang Poland’s head,” one source said.
Timmermans said the commission’s investigation aimed to “clarify the facts in an objective way” and “start a dialogue with Polish authorities without prejudging” the outcome.
The commission is seeking to take the political heat out of the debate amid bitter recriminations from some Polish government ministers, after criticism from German politicians.
Two senior EU politicians, Martin Schulz, head of the European parliament, and Günther Oettinger, European commissioner for digital economy, who are German, have been strongly critical of PiS, while has depicted leading EU politicians, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Nazi uniforms.
The commission’s initial assessment is likely to be concluded in March, following a separate report by the Council of Europe’s Venice commission, a body of constitutional experts, which is also examining the workings of Poland’s constitutional tribunal.