The European Parliament is fighting for a better Poland. It strongly demands that the EU budget be linked to the requirements of the rule of law. It does not accept the blurring of this mechanism and the de facto impunity of leaders, as in Poland and Hungary, who violate civil rights and democratic rules. The last round of negotiations between representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the German presidency has begun on this issue,
The European Parliament can afford to be tenacious, because without its consent the budget cannot be adopted. The budget is a record-breaking 1.8 trillion euros, including 750 billion in the Reconstruction Fund to save European economies from the havoc of a pandemic-induced crisis.
Among other things, the EP wants to facilitate the imposition of sanctions. According to the current proposal, their introduction would require the consent of a qualified majority in the EU Council, i.e. at least 15 countries with at least 65% of the EU population. The heads of the strongest democratic factions in the EP demand that this mechanism be reversed: a qualified majority would be necessary to reject the sanctions.
This is good news for Poland for two reasons.
First, if the EP leads to stronger protection of the rule of law in the Union, the Law and Justice party will not be able to consolidate power as it intends. Neither will it be able to violate civil rights and incite hostilities against minorities, as it is doing now, for example, against LGBT+ community. Granted, part of the power camp, for example Minister Ziobro and his people, would like to see Poland outside the EU. They would then be able to use the power even more brutally and more efficiently seize public money to cement this power and their own careers. But even Ziobro knows that in Polexit will not garner enough popular support in Poland, and that in response to the threat of sanctions, it is impossible to stir up a rebellion against the EU. Because Poles, including a large part of Law and Justice (PiS) voters, are too attached to our common Europe.
Kaczynski has known this for a long time, but of the EP does not give way, he will soon find out that his insulting policy towards the EU is coming to an end. The head of the Law and Justice party approves of Poland's marginal position in the EU, because it is a low price for him to pay for his freedom in annihilating democracy. But this political idea only works if, as now, EU money flows in a broad stream no matter how much the ruling camp is oppressing the Polish society. A strong link between the budget and the rule of law will ruin such a violent policy.
The second good news is that the EP does not let the anti-democrats in Poland of the hook because it regards their rule as transitional. So we are pariahs for the Union, but only temporary; we have a great chance to quickly recover from this miserable status by restoring our democracy. And join in deciding on the future of our common EU affairs.
The Polish opposition, which in three years' time will be standing for parliamentary elections, should make the matter of Poland's role in the Union an important part of its programs.
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