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Anna Kubacka: The war does not prevent the European People's Party from demanding sanctions against Poland

Published: 07.03.2022

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· An extraordinary session was held in the European Parliament to discuss Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

· MEPs also focused on the issue of alleged violations by Poland of the rule of law.

· MEP Sylwia Spurek demanded, among others, the measures taken by the European Commission against Poland and Hungary or the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the European Union.

· MEPs from the European People's Party, together with the S&D and Renew groups, began to push through a resolution aimed at withdrawing EU funds from Poland.

The war is not the most important thing?

For several days now, the world has been living with reports from Ukraine, which is heroically defending itself against Russian aggression. As a neighbour and ally of the attacked country, Poland supports Ukraine in every possible field. Both the Polish government, which provides Ukraine with military and humanitarian support, and on the international forum, fought to take decisive steps to support Ukraine, and the Polish society, which is massively organising the help for the victims of the war. The contribution and commitment of Poland and Poles are noticed in the world and by the Ukrainians themselves. It is said that "Poland is doing today for Ukraine what nobody did for Poland in 1939".

It would seem that in the face of the current events, all the hitherto political disputes should be pushed aside. However, life in the European Parliament goes on without major changes. Although an extraordinary session of the European Parliament was held yesterday, during which the topic of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was debated, it is impossible not to notice that this war has been going on for almost a week. Meanwhile, looking at the work of the EP in recent days, one gets the impression that for many of its members, the current situation is by no means extraordinary.a

Sylwia Spurek and EPP v. Poland

After the invasion of Ukraine began, MEP Sylwia Spurek calmly summed up the past week on the Internet, not mentioning the tragedy taking place beyond our eastern border. The key events that she paid attention to include a petition to the President of the European Commission "to take immediate action in relation to violations of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary", the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the EU and the stoppage of the construction of the wall in the Białowieża Forest.

Also, the European People's Party (EPP), whose members are Polish MEPs from the Civic Platform (PO) and the Polish People’s Party (SLD), along with the S&D groups (left-wing MPs and SLD) and Renew (PL2050 MPs), began to actively push through a resolution demanding the imposition of unlawful financial sanctions on Poland. The draft was put on the agenda of the next plenary session and is to be voted on March 9. In the document, MEPs call on the European Commission to "immediately and retrospectively" launch the so-called rule of law mechanism, which would take EU funds away from Poland. They also emphasise that "it is high time for the Commission to fulfil its duties as guardian of the Treaties" because Poland "poses a serious threat to the financial interests of the Union".

Poland's involvement and contribution – also financial – in the fight for an independent Ukraine does not seem to be a sufficient argument for EPP deputies to withdraw from attacking Poland on the international forum, at least temporarily. Not only has the dispute over the alleged lack of the rule of law in Poland not been abandoned or temporarily put aside, but efforts are still being made to exacerbate it – despite the role played by Poland as a key partner in supporting the defence of Ukraine.

Anna Kubacka - analyst of Center of International Law of Ordo Iuris

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