Tag Archives: Poland

Poland expels 45 Russian diplomats

Brussels 23.03.2022 Poland ordered the expulsion of 45 Russians identified as “intelligence officers” using their diplomatic status as cover to operate in the country, officials said Wednesday, March 23.(Image: Warsaw skyline).

Poland’s Internal Security Agency said it has asked the Foreign Ministry to urgently expel Russians, who were described as a danger to Poland’s security.
“These are people who have and operate using their diplomatic status, but in reality conduct intelligence activities against Poland,” said Stanislaw Zaryn, the state security spokesperson.

Russian Ambassador Sergei Andreev, who was summoned to the Foreign Ministry has criticised the decision, and said those being kicked out of Poland “were carrying out normal diplomatic and trade activity.”

Polish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina said the Russians were offered five days to leave the country, with the exception person who must leave in 48 hours.

“Russia is our neighbour and will not disappear from the map of Europe, but the aggression against Ukraine proves that it is a hostile state, and even hostile to Poland,” Jasina added.

The spokesperson didn’t explain the reasons behind the actions, but suggested that they pose an especially grave threat while Poland is accepting large numbers of refugees from Ukraine.

“The illegal activities of these diplomats can also pose a threat to those people who left their country to flee the war and found protection in our country,” he continued.

“Poland, in coordination with our allies, decided to significantly reduce the diplomatic staff of the Embassy of the Russian Federation”, he said, and added that the Russian services are increasingly offensive and “are acting aggressively against Poland.”

Zaryn said in a separate statement that the security agency found that the activities of the 45 Russians have served “the objectives of the Russian undertakings designed to undermine the stability of Poland and its allies in the international arena and poses a threat to the interests and security of our country.”

Poland expropriation of Russian property

Brussels 21.03.2022 The government of Poland expressed will to confiscate Russian property and assets Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview Sunday, March 20.

According to the Prime Minister, Polish authorities plan to have a meeting with the opposition Monday, March 21, during which they will “raise a question on how to freeze and confiscate Russian property in the country.”

“We have a bit of such property. On the one hand, there are constitutional restrictions for such actions, connected to the right of property; on the other hand, more and more Polish people fail to understand why we can’t have such action in our country, if the Italians confiscate yachts of Russian oligarchs,” Morawiecki said.

“We want to take it thought the Sejm [the lower house of the parliament – TASS], and we decided that the opposition must be involved in this process,” he explained.

The statesman has underlined that, although there are no Russian yachts in Poland, “there is some real estate and financial assets, shares of companies.”

“In any case, our authority camp firmly supports this,” the Prime Minister said.

Hungary: EU Court allows funds freeze

Strasbourg 16.02.2022 The EU funds are tied to EU values — EU Court of Justice strengthens the rule of law
The long-awaited ruling of the top European Court, issued today, confirms the legitimacy of protecting the Union budget from negative effects resulting from breaches of the principles of the rule of law. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has always supported the mechanism to tie adherence to the rule of law with the disbursement of EU recovery funds.

Today’s decision of the Court in support of the conditionality tool has reaffirmed the European Union’s efforts to limit the erosion of democratic principles in the Member States. It is a strong signal that EU values such as the rule of law and solidarity are non-negotiable”, EESC president Christa Schweng said.
According to one of EESC’s most recent opinions, The rule of law and the recovery fund, (20 January 2022), systematic shortcomings in the rule of law undermine the implementation of EU-funded programmes, and the absence of a rapid and comprehensive EU response to this jeopardises the EU’s credibility. The EESC recommends that sanctions be applied swiftly when breaches of law present a risk to the Union’s financial interests.

Addressing backsliding on the rule of law by any Member State is important in order to preserve the legitimacy of the EU’s fundamental values”, president Schweng said.

The court case that challenged the conditionality mechanism was brought by Poland and Hungary. The two countries claimed inter alia the mechanism exceeded the powers of the EU.

Organised civil society regularly states its concerns at breaches of the rule of law and judicial independence and expresses its wish for the Member States to adhere to EU standards.

Biden sends troops to Poland

Brussels 06.02.2022 A plane carrying USA troops landed in Poland on Sunday, February 6, a Reuters news agency reports, as Washington reinforces its NATO allies in Eastern Europe amid a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border.(Image: illustration)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, February 2, ordered nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania, as Washington moves to reassure East European NATO allies.

The Pentagon said that around 1,700 service members, mainly from the 82nd Airborne Division, would deploy from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland.

Sunday’s arrival of the C17 aircraft followed a plane carrying the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Major General Christopher Donahue, which landed on Saturday, February 5, at Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, and a few planes with U.S. military equipment and an “advance group”.

It was not immediately clear how many troops arrived, but a C17 aircraft is “designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and their equipment”, according to the U.S. Air Force website.

“Our national contribution here in Poland shows our solidarity with all of our allies here in Europe and obviously during this period of uncertainty we know that we are stronger together,” Donahue said on Sunday.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said minutes after the plane landed that this was the first group of American soldiers “from an elite unit”.

“…More planes will be landing in the coming hours. The soldiers will operate in the southeastern part of our country,” he added.

EU €70m fine to Poland

The European Commission has sent Poland notice to pay some 70 million euros in fines for failing to reverse an illegal disciplinary regime for judges, a spokesman said, an escalation in a row between Warsaw and the European Union.

The case is one of many disputes between the EU and Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in 2015 and has since faced accusations of eroding democratic freedoms.

Last October the top EU court fined Warsaw for failing to immediately halt the work of the Polish Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber pending a final verdict on the scheme.

The European Union is set to demand that Poland pay around €70 million of fines in the coming weeks for failing to scrap a contentious system for disciplining judges according to Brussels think-tank experts.

The dispute is one of many battles pitting Poland against the EU, which accuses the nationalist government in Warsaw of backsliding on democratic standards, including the independence of the judiciary. Warsaw denies the charge.

“I regret that the situation of the rule of law in Poland shows no signs of improvement and judges continue to be under pressure. We will continue to do our duty to defend the rule of law and judicial independence,” said Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency.

Separately, a spokesman for the Commission told reporters that the Brussels-based executive had received Poland’s latest explanation in the dispute, adding: “The EU has ways to ensure payment of fines due from Poland.”

January 11 was the deadline for Warsaw to tell the Commission when and how it would dismantle the Disciplinary Chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court, which the EU’s top EU court had ordered suspended, or pay fines worth €1 million a day.

Should Poland’s response fail to satisfy the Commission, which enforces European law, a source in the EU executive said it would send an invoice to Warsaw, with a 45-day deadline to pay.

By then, the fine would amount to some €70 million, said a second Commission source, adding that the call for payment would be sent to Warsaw “very soon”.

Asked about the case, a deputy Polish justice minister last week accused the EU of making “illegal demands” and said Warsaw would not give in to “blackmail”.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party introduced the new policing system for judges in 2017 amid a sweeping overhaul of the judiciary widely denounced as undermining the independence of courts and judges.

The Polish judges’ association Iustitia, which accuses PiS of degrading the courts, said the Disciplinary Chamber had suspended six judges so far for challenging government policies, and that two more were awaiting a decision.

Of the six, two have been suspended for more than one year, their cases reassigned to other judges or started from scratch, including one for the murder of a child, Iustitia said.

Iustitia said more than 1,000 judges have been nominated since PiS party changed the law to allow judges to be appointed by government officials instead by other judges to staff judicial panels.

In case Poland continues to refuse to pay for failing to obey the order of the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) – the decisions of which are binding for all member states – the Commission would eventually deduct the total due from EU funds earmarked for Warsaw.

However, the timetable is unclear while the other EU countries have so far either implemented measures prescribed by the European Court of Justice or paid promptly on their own for failing to do so.

A lack of precedent or detailed EU rules allows procedural delays and political disputes over the issue, which has already harmed Poland’s reputation with the EU.

“I regret that the situation of the rule of law in Poland shows no signs of improvement and judges continue to be under pressure. We will continue to do our duty to defend the rule of law and judicial independence,” said Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency.

EU diplomacy focus on Belarus

Brussels 15.11.2021 “First, we are going to have the Foreign Affairs Council. After [this] we are going to have the meeting with the Ministers of the Eastern Partnership. And after this, we will have the Jumbo meeting with Foreign and Defense Ministers to start talking about the Strategic Compass” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at doorstep of the meeting of the ministers in Brussels.(Image: Europa building, archive)

“On the Foreign Affairs Ministers Council: we are going to review the whole set of problems starting certainly with the situation in Belarus. Yesterday, I had phone calls with my Polish [Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau], Lithuanian [Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis] and Belarusian Minister [Vladimir Makei] also with the Secretary General of the United Nations [António Guterres] in order to prepare the meeting. We had the opportunity to share with the Secretary General of the United Nations how things are going on the ground. I talked to the Belarussian Minister to tell him that the situation was totally unacceptable that humanitarian help has to be provided. And that we have to think about how we can solve the problem starting by stopping the [migration] flow. Stopping the flights. This is almost done.

“During these days we have been talking with countries of origin and transit. My colleague [Vice-President Margaritis] Schinas is in Bagdad. And I think that from my point of view, the inflow of things are becoming under control. But we have to provide humanitarian assistance to these people and to prevent any kind of hybrid attack against the European Union border. This is something that will take an important part of our meeting.

“But there are many other issues. The situation in the Western Balkans, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where there are tendencies which are undermining the unity of the country and hampering its development, and its way towards the European Union. The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina also. And in general, the situation in the Balkans, which is not especially good.

“The Sahel will also be part of our work today. Last night, there was another attack in Burkina Faso. 20 more people dead, killed. Our security starts in the Sahel and we had to engage more with the region.

“We will talk also about the situation in Varosha, in Cyprus, in Syria; but mainly in Sudan and Ethiopia. We have to try to avoid [an] implosion of the country. The situation in Ethiopia is becoming worse by every moment and we will try to avoid the implosion of the country”.

EU-Belarus: new wave of sanctions

Brussels 14.11.2021 As the European Union faces a new migration crisis, organised by Belarus which encourages the entry of migrants into EU countries, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) said the bloc is ready for a new wave of sanctions.

The EU diplomat deplores the situation and announces a new wave of sanctions to come against a number of Belarusian personalities. However Borrell also talks about Poland and its affront to the rule of law.

“We push the migrants: they leave 12 countries and Belarus pushes them against the border. We can end up in a humanitarian drama: it is an attack on the dignity of migrants that we bring to a dead end. (…) Yes, we are going to vote for a fifth round of sanctions, relating to those who organise these trips. (…) Lukashenko has imprisoned 35,000 people. If he could cut off the gas, he would, but the the Russians are not going to let him do it because the gas is sold by them.”

Poland wants to build an anti-migrant wall with the help of European funds, while Brussels wants to cut off funding for its breaches of the rule of law. For Josep Borrell, “there are more walls in Europe today than at the time of the Berlin Wall. However, it is not with walls that we are going to stop the migration problems”.

Regarding the “strategic compass” to guide Europeans in their diplomacy, the EU diplomat believes that “Europe is in a very dangerous environment and must have complementary instruments to NATO in order to be able to intervene in an environment that concerns it.”

Migrants storm Polish border

Brussels 11.11.2011 Polish law enforcement officers thwarted an attempt to storm the border by a large group of migrants late on Wednesday evening, November 10, Spokeswoman for the Polish border guards service Ewelina Szczepanska reported on Thursday.

“The incident occurred late last night. The situation is very complicated. It constantly comes to attempts to storm the border. 150 violent migrants tried to cross the border in the area of Bialowieza this time. They threw branches and stones at our officers, attempted to break the fence with these branches,” she said.

“This attempt was prevented. Later some of these people were taken to the forest by the Belarusian law enforcement agencies. The rest made bonfires,” Szczepanska informed. According to her, the border guards have been monitoring the development of the situation and expect similar attempts in the coming days. “We don’t rule this out. We are ready and will not allow any illegal border crossing,” she stated.

Polish border guards thwarted about 33,000 attempts to illegally cross the border in the past year. Most of those trying to enter Poland are Iraqi nationals who want to reach Germany.

Poland votes border wall construction

Brussels 29.10.2021 Poland Parliament has voted to build a border wall with Belarus to block an influx of migrants who are illegally entering Poland. Thousands of people – mostly from the Middle East and Asia – have tried to cross Poland’s border in recent months.

The European Union accuses Belarus’s government of driving the rise, in retaliation for sanctions against its regime.

The 5.5m (18ft) wall will cost €353m (£297m; $407), and some critics say it is a waste of money.

The legislation will be pass to Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, who is expected to sign it into law without delay.

The wall – equipped with motion sensors and a monitoring system – will cover about half the length of Poland’s 400km (250 mile) border with Belarus. The government plans to build it rapidly by summer 2022.

Sassoli lawsuit against Commission

Brussels 29.10.2021 Written statement by the President of the European Parliament. Following President Sassoli’s request, the Parliament’s legal service today submitted the lawsuit against the European Commission for its failure to apply the Conditionality Regulation to the Court of Justice.

The regulation, which was adopted last December, allows the EU to suspend payments from the EU budget to Member States in which the rule of law is under threat. However, the Commission has refrained from using it so far. Parliament’s legal affairs committee had therefore recommended taking legal action.

“As requested in parliamentary resolutions, our legal service has brought an action against the European Commission for failure to apply the Conditionality Regulation to the Court of Justice today”, passed the message of the European Parliament President David Sassoli via his press person Roberto Cuillo.

“We expect the European Commission to act in a consistent manner and live up to what President von der Leyen stated during our last plenary discussion on this subject. Words have to be turned into deeds.”

David Sassoli has been absent for six weeks since September 15, when his team informed by press-release about his hospitalisation.

“The President of the European Parliament David Sassoli was taken to the Hôpital Civil in Strasbourg on Wednesday 15 September. After the necessary medical examinations, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was immediately treated. He is in a good condition, ” statement by the Roberto Cuillo, spokesperson for President Sassoli.

Image above: #SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Sanitary COVID19 rules European Parliament State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org

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