Germany Calls for Sanctions Against Poland

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

9th January, 2016


The representatives of the bloc of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) in the German Bundestag have not excluded the imposition of sanctions against Poland in connection with the new Polish media laws and the constitutional court.

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The head of the CDU/CSU in the Bundestag , Volker Kauder, said in an interview with Der Spiegel that the EU should “find the courage to apply sanctions on the breach of European values”. “The Polish government should know that in Europe you cannot violate some fundamental values,” he added.

The Chairman of the CDU/CSU in the European Parliament, Herbert Reul, also supported the introduction of punitive measures against Poland. “The economic sanctions are necessary if political dialogue does not give results”, said the political magazine Der Spiegel.

Earlier on January 7th, the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, signed amendments to the law on mass media, which assume the expiration of the term of office of the current members of the management Board and Supervisory boards of public television TVP and Polish radio. The Minister of Finance of Poland is entitled to appoint a new management team “before the implementation of the new organization of the state media”. In addition, the Minister of Finance of Poland will be able to change the statutes of the state media to conform to the proposed amendment.

At the end of December 2015, the Duda had approved amendments to the law on the constitutional court, according to which the constitutional court can no longer dismiss judges and will be entitled only to prepare appropriate request to the lower house of Parliament (Sejm) “in particularly egregious cases.” Disciplinary sanctions against judges may be used only upon request of the President or the Minister of justice. In addition, the court itself expanded from 9 to 15 judges, and for approval decisions will require the consent of two thirds of the whole, rather than the usual majority.

Both acts aroused fierce debate in Poland itself and provoked criticism from Brussels, who fears that they have violate the principles of a legal state. The European Commission has sent to Warsaw two letters with an explanation of requirements and the occurance of a debate on this issue on January 13th.

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