Tag Archives: Poland

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

EU: Poland at crossroads

Brussels 27.10.2021 In spite of the deepening EU-Poland crisis the Member of the European Parliament Ryszard LEGUTKO (ECR) drew attention to the fact that in recent weeks there has been less than usual criticism from the French government. “In recent times, France has been reluctant to join the anti-Polish crusade,” Legutko underlined. As he assessed, it has, inter alia, related to the country’s growing anti-federal sentiment and the upcoming presidential elections.

Legutko emphasized that as regards the dispute between Brussels and Poland over the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, the French opposition clearly stands on the Polish side. “President Macron is under pressure because of this. This is a good time to visit and do business with France, he noted, referring to President Andrzej Duda’s visit to the Seine, who meets President Macron on Wednesday. If we have common economic interests, it can also bring us closer politically” – Legutko said.

In an interview with Krzysztof Skowroński on Radio WNET, prof. Ryszard Legutko commented on the dispute between Warsaw and Brussels. The politician assessed another debate on the rule of law in Poland as anti-Polish. As he added, Moreover, the EU leadership is trying to destabilise the situation in Poland. “The European Union wants to destabilise the internal situation in Hungary and Poland” – he said.
Legutko pointed out that the European left, entrenched in EU institutions, is waging an increasingly brutal “cold war” against conservative governments in Europe. He stressed that this is a relatively new phenomenon.

The European Court of Justice said in a press release the fine was “necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which that Union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law.” The European Commission had requested “financial penalties” be levied on September 9 after Poland failed to comply with the July ruling.
On Twitter, Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta called the fine “usurpation and blackmail.”

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Poland to pay a fine of €1 million ($1.2 million) per day on Wednesday, October 27, over its decision to ignore an EU ruling on Warsaw’s judicial reforms.
The top EU court imposed the penalty as Poland has not suspended the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court. The ECJ had ruled in July that the chamber did not guarantee impartiality.

Brussels: Marine Le Pen supports Morawiecki

Brussels 22.10.2020 Marine Le Pen met on Friday 22 October in Brussels the Polish head of government Mateusz Morawiecki to whom she provided “support” in the crisis between her country and the EU by denouncing “the unacceptable blackmail” of the European Commission.

“We spoke together in particular of the unacceptable blackmail exercised by the European Commission on Poland, and I wanted to give it my support,” added Marine Le Pen, who is due to hold a press conference in Brussels afterwards. midday, before going to Budapest on Monday to meet the ultraconservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Before the opening of a summit of the Twenty-Seven Thursday in Brussels, Mateusz Morawiecki, in conflict with Brussels on the independence of justice and the primacy of European law, said he was “ready for dialogue” while denouncing ” the pressure of blackmail ”.

European leaders played the card of appeasement during this Summit, while reserving the possibility of cracking down later. Tensions have increased since a decision on October 7 by the Polish Constitutional Court which declared certain articles of European treaties incompatible with the national constitution. A decision denounced by Brussels as an unprecedented attack on the primacy of European law and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU, but also as the ultimate illustration of the lack of independence of the Polish justice with regard to the government.

Poland: Sassoli ready for legal battle

“One year ago, here in this room, we said over and over again that all the hardship, pain, waiting and worry that Europeans were experiencing would not be in vain, because the pandemic would make us better, more united, bring us closer, and that, with our Treaties, we would show democracy to be stronger than authoritarian regimes.

One year ago, many commentators were also arguing that, as in the aftermath of the Second World War, hardship would make us better.

Yet today we find ourselves at a critical juncture, and everyone around this table will be well aware of the gravity of the situation. At this juncture, the European Union needs the truth. And the truth is that we are getting no better.

A few days ago, the legal bedrock of our Union was challenged. This was not for the first time, of course, nor will it be the last.

But never before has the Union been called into question so radically.

I believe that you, and all of us, need to hold a frank and open discussion on the direction we want to give our Union.

The European Parliament has debated this matter in plenary, as you know. We listened very carefully to what Prime Minister Morawiecki had to say, but wish to stress that Poland wrote the European laws in force along with the rest of us. We made these rules together, so there can be no talk of them being imposed by the European Union. The European Union is based on everyone abiding by fundamental values and common rules, which we all voluntarily agreed to observe together.

The citizens of Europe expect us to uphold these principles, and the citizens of Poland have marched in large numbers in Warsaw to remind us of that.

We have together adopted an EU law that creates a close link between the protection of the EU budget and the respect of the rule of law. This law is in force and we believe that the procedure should now be launched in order to protect our budget and secure the respect of the rule of law. This is why, as you know, upon recommendation of our Legal affairs committee, I have asked the Parliament’s legal services to refer a case to the Court to ensure that legislation in force is duly applied. We do not intend to shirk our institutional role in defending the basic principles on which the European Union is founded.

With democratic experience comes the practice of continuous dialogue. We have followed that practice many times before, and I am convinced we have the capabilities and resources to steer our way out of this crisis and rediscover the path of unity. But we must be crystal clear that while our unity is indeed bolstered by our diversity, there is one aspect of our European pact that is not negotiable: our values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. These values are hardwired into the European project, and we all chose to abide by them on joining the European Union. The European Parliament will stand very firm on this point and is ready to enforce these values, within the ambit of its prerogatives.

“We can be proud of the work we have done in tackling the pandemic. From a healthcare perspective, our continent is now ahead of the field on vaccinations, with over 75% of adults vaccinated. However, we know that this figure masks major disparities between Member States. These disparities are liable to undermine the recovery and the smooth functioning of our internal market, and hence we still have to take steps to address them. Viewed on a global scale, however, those disparities become enormous. We are well aware there can be no end to the pandemic until vaccination is available to all countries the world over, and especially the poorest. Only 4% of Africans are vaccinated and COVAX has only received 85 million doses, despite the European Union and the United States pledging over a billion doses. We must commit as of now to delivering on our promise to share vaccine doses through COVAX or via the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, because we know that no one is safe until we are all safe.

“…Our inability to decide on a common policy is showing our adversaries just how weak we can be. Faced with those who would use migrants as a hybrid weapon, it is not a sign of strength to consider erecting a wall at our external borders. Faced with the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and the geopolitical challenge now playing out in that theatre, it is not a sign of strength to offload responsibility for hosting migrants onto the other countries in that region without at least assuming some responsibility ourselves, as a great power should. Managing migratory flows in a unified manner and in a controlled and orderly fashion, in cooperation with our partners would, on the other hand, be a sign of our strength and of our political capabilities. The Pact on Migration and Asylum should be our instrument of choice if we are to be stronger and more united…”

Russia expels 5 Polish diplomats

Brussels 16.04.2021 Russia will expel five Polish diplomats in response to Warsaw’s actions, the Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) said in a statement published on Friday, April 16.(Image above: Moscow city).

“By the way, we noted how quick Warsaw was to chime in with the U.S. administration, demanding that three Russian diplomats leave Poland. In turn, five Polish diplomats will be expelled from Russia,” the ministry said.

On April 15, Poland declared three Russian diplomats personae non gratae.

Poland expelled on Thursday three Russian diplomats accused of “hostile actions,” the Polish Foreign Ministry said. The move comes after the US expelled 10 Russian diplomats earlier on Thursday and imposed sanctions against dozens of companies and people.

Washington says the measures are retaliation for alleged Kremlin interference in last year’s presidential election and a massive cyber attack on federal agencies known as SolarWinds.

EU on Unions of Poles in Belarus

Brussels 25.03.2021 “We are witnessing a further escalation of repression against the Belarusian people, including orchestrated campaigns of persecution of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society in Belarus” reads the Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on targeting the Union of Poles in Belarus.

“Recent developments have shown that the latest target of this policy is the Union of Poles in Belarus. On 23 March, Andżelika Borys, the newly re-elected Chairwoman of the Union of Poles in Belarus was arrested and sentenced to 15 days in prison. On 25 March, Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and a member of the board of the Union of Poles in Belarus has been detained. The offices of the Union of Poles in Belarus throughout the whole country have been searched. New criminal charges have been brought against the leadership of the Union of Poles in Belarus, which can lead to a sentence up to several years in prison.

“The European Union expects Belarus to uphold its international commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We call on Belarus to release Ms Andżelika Borys and Mr Andrzej Poczobut immediately and unconditionally, along with all political prisoners currently detained.

“The European Union remains convinced that an inclusive national dialogue remains crucial to address the situation in Belarus. The EU stands ready to support and calls on the Belarusian authorities to use every opportunity offered, including the facilitation by the OSCE”.

EU regrets Lukashenko demands

“The demand of the Belarusian authorities that Poland and Lithuania withdraw their ambassadors and significantly reduce their diplomatic representations in Minsk is unfounded and regrettable. It goes against the logic of dialogue and will only further isolate the authorities in Minsk” reads the statement of the EU lead spokesperson.

“Attempts by the Belarusian authorities to target certain EU Member States will not succeed in weakening EU unity, which was clearly reaffirmed by the European Council on 1 October when all EU Member States called on the Belarusian authorities to end violence and repression, release all detainees and political prisoners, respect media freedom and civil society, and start an inclusive national dialogue” 

“The EU continues to support the democratic right of the Belarusian people to elect their President through new free and fair elections, without external interference” the statement concludes.

Belarus authorities announced sanctions against the European Union on October 2 in retaliation to restrictive measures agreed by European leaders hours before over the sham presidential election.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry’s statement accused the EU of “striving towards the deterioration of relations with us” and imposed its own set of sanctions against the bloc.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 2 he was sure the problems that had emerged in Belarus after the presidential elections would be settled soon, the Kremlin press service said after his telephone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko.

“The presidents also discussed various aspects of the post-election situation in Belarus in the context of the ongoing attempts of outside interference. Confidence was expressed that the current problems will soon be settled,” the press service said, adding that the telephone conversation was initiated by the Belarusian side.

Poland Animal Welfare crisis

Brussels 18.09.2020 Poland’s governing alliance appeared to be in disarray on September 18, as a dispute over animal rights measures highlighted divisions in the ruling camp, raising the possibility of early elections if differences cannot be resolved.

Tensions within the alliance led by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party came into the open after some members did not support the measures, which passed in parliament with opposition support.

The dispute over changes to animal rights laws, which are seen as an appeal to younger voters, halted talks on overhauling ministries and raised risks of problems for the coalition.

The new rules, which would ban fur farming and curb the slaughter of animals, were opposed by all lawmakers from the ultra-conservative United Poland party, some other lawmakers in doubt have abstained.The legislation aligns situation with the Lisbon Treaty of EU, stating that animals are “sentient beings” and animal welfare is a European value.

PiS lawmaker and Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, who had openly criticized the bill, voted against it.

Opponents of the bill within the ruling alliance said it would alienate voters in PiS’s rural heartlands and hurt farmers.

Poland produces millions of furs a year, and the sector employs about 50,000 people. The country is also one of Europe’s biggest exporters of halal and kosher meat, with 2017 shipments of more than 70,000 tons.

“Negotiations … have been suspended due to the situation we have in the Sejm,” or parliament, PiS lawmaker and Deputy Parliament Speaker Ryszard Terlecki said before the vote.

Asked about ruling as a minority government, Terlecki said this would not be possible.

“If that happens, we’ll go to elections. Alone, of course.”

In 2007, PiS decided to go for early elections and lost power, making the party well aware of the risks of such a move.

Back in 1991, Compassion in World Farming NGO submitted a petition to the European Parliament, calling for animals to be recognised as sentient beings, capable of suffering. This was accepted as a ‘Treaty declaration’ which is not legally binding, but nonetheless a significant first step. Then, in 1997 with the Treaty of Amsterdam, it became a Protocol, with legal status. The new Lisbon Treaty, in force from December 1st 2009, includes animal sentience as an Article, meaning that recognition of animal sentience is now in the main body of the Treaty and carries considerably more weight.

Polish Tusk endorsed for EPP leadership

The European People’s Party (EPP) Congress has overwhelmingly voted Polish politician Donald Tusk as the EPP President with 491 in favour (93%) and 37 against. His mandate will start on 1 December 2019.

“Dear Joseph, it will be very difficult to replace you, you did an excellent job. You gave us all a feeling of safety and a meaning to our actions. You were a true leader of our community” Tusk said, addressing the incumbent EPP leader French Joseph Daul.

“Let me also thank you for your trust. It was you, who more than a year ago, came to me with the suggestion that I become your successor, and you took such good care of this idea that I am the only candidate. This is another example of your extraordinary effectiveness, Joseph, thank you. And so, here I am, at your disposal” Tusk added.

He succeeds French Joseph Daul after his two mandates as EPP President.

“Under no circumstances can we give away the sphere of security and order to political populists, manipulators and autocrats, who lead people to believe that freedom cannot be reconciled with security. That protecting our borders and territory cannot be reconciled with liberal democracy, and an effective governance with the rule of law” Tusk declared.

https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1197414900244582401?s=21

Biography of Donald Tusk published by EPP:

Donald Tusk was born in 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland. In 1976 he started studying history at the University of Gdańsk, where he got involved in illegal activities against the Communist regime.

In the 1980s he was an activist in the underground Solidarity movement. In 1980 he founded the Independent Students’ Association (NZS), part of Solidarity. In 1983 he launched the Political Review, a monthly that promoted economic liberalism and democracy. An informal think-tank supporting Lech Wałęsa was centred around the periodical.
After the fall of communism the think-tank members known as the Gdańsk Liberals formed a government following the first free presidential elections in Poland. They also founded the Liberal Democratic Congress, with Tusk as its leader.
In the 1990s Tusk served as an MP and deputy Speaker of the Senate. He also published books on the history of Gdańsk.
In 2001 he was one of the initiators of the centrist Civic Platform party, which he led from 2003. Tusk was Prime Minister from 2007-2014, making him the longest-serving premier in democratic Poland, and the first to be reelected.
Donald Tusk was elected President of the European Council in 2014, reelected for a second term

EU diplomacy sidelined Yemen conflict

At present there is a visible diplomatic apathy in the EU, regarding the protracted Yemen conflict, blaming on too many foreign actors, stirring the ongoing feud, which have already degraded into proxy war through involvement of multiple external players, supplying belligerent parties with weapons. However the revenues of arms exporters, namely the Europeans. are not the sole responsible for the warfare, continuously claiming lives of Yemenis, and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The desire of the European Union to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, keeps out of focus numerous Tehran illicit activities, aggravating various conflicts, including civil war in Yemen, increasingly destabilizing the entire region. The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which damaged half the production, evoked accusations from the West, presuming the rockets were launched from Iran’s territory. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the offensive, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However Iran responded reasoning the attack on Aramco oil plans as an act of “legitimate defense” of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since regional tensions escalated following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities mid-September, the Yemen conflict was upgraded on diplomatic agenda. Especially in view of the protection of vessels in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks, as well as the prevention of the illicit arms trade and the protection of civil aviation.

Nowadays there is growing concern among foreign policy experts, pointing at intensified engagement between the Houthi leadership with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah chiefs, conspiring operations to strengthening Iran position in the Strait of Hormuz, and weakening Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

In the context of the escalations of tensions, on October 21-22 the diplomats have been gathering for a conference in Bahrain (Manama) to discuss the security issue in the Gulf. The even has been co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland, and is regarded as a part of Warsaw Process (Ministerial’s Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group). So far there have been little information about the EU diplomacy participation, and input of the representatives of the European External Actions Service – who claim to be highly sought after “global player”. The conference was attended on a diplomatic level by a delegation representative, the spokesperson confirmed, adding the EEAS position remains unchanged, based on the EU Council conclusions.

The EU continues to reaffirm that only a negotiated and inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen.The EU has contributed with over €560 million in assistance since the beginning of the conflict.

What is defined nowadays by experts as a “proxy war” erupted in in 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. However, in reality it was a new chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the Iran-backed Shia movement and loyalist forces since 2004.

The United Nations Security Council reacted upon belligerent spell of Houthi with resolution 2201 “deploring” their “unilateral actions’ ” and calling for the immediate halt of hostilities. The message of the global community has repeated several times, condemning the violence, including after March 26, 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco launched its first military operation.

The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict (since 2015) between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

According to the UN report due to the protracted conflict, Yemen is the most affected country with in acute need for humanitarian aid for 24.1 million people, including children, who are prime victims of the bloodshed and hunger.

In September 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

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