The European Commission today announced it is putting Poland under a monitoring procedure under the EU's rule of law framework. The move comes in response to the legal and constitutional changes in Poland regarding the public broadcaster and the judiciary. Commenting on the situation, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts said:
"The Commission is correct to formally address the concerns with the rule of law in Poland. Upholding democratic norms is a central prerequisite for EU membership. Ultimately, it is only together with Polish citizens that this assault on democratic norms by the Polish government can be prevented. Meeting the Polish government's provocative stance with provocation, as some EU politicians have done, is not helpful, particularly given the inaction with regard to previous cases in Hungary or Italy. However, the Commission has a duty to uphold the EU Treaties in all member states and to support those in Poland who oppose these developments. Activating the rule of law mechanism is an important first step to this end.
"However, it cannot be the Commission alone that acts. EU governments in Council must also be actively engaged in defending the rule of law and democracy and must give full support to the Commission's investigation.
"We need binding EU-wide standards and rules on media freedom, which would enable the Commission to act more swiftly and decisively when these freedoms are threatened. The Commission must come forward with proposals to this end without delay."