While some progress has been achieved in talks between Poland and the European Commission to assuage Brussels’ concerns about the rule of law in the large, former Communist East European nation of 40 million people, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.
Timmermans hoped to announce that enough progress had been made to revoke Article 7 procedure that was introduced in December after Warsaw made a series of controversial moves aimed at threatening key checks and balances in the country.
Under Article 7, Poland could theoretically lose its voting rights in the EU after the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski attempted to curb the independence of the country’s courts.
“The dialogue cannot continue indefinitely, there must be a conclusion. I hope we can come up with a solution in the next few weeks. Not only by talking, but by taking concrete steps in that direction,” said Timmermans, who stressed that that rule of law in Poland is still under threat. “Both the Polish government and the Commission agree that we have to find a solution and conclude these talks.”
Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz echoed Timmermans’ statements, saying, “Poland is aiming for an agreement…We have to go on talking and explaining to find a legal formula to address these concerns… I understand the European Commission is of the same mind and will continue talks.”
According to the six-month rotating Bulgarian Council of the EU presidency, all sides have expressed support for the continuation of the dialogue. “The full spectrum of possibilities are on the table…We have to decide which one will be on the agenda,” said Timmermans, who stressed that the next step would either be a solution or enforcing Article 7.
Timmermans told European affairs ministers who were meeting in Brussels about the two-year-old dispute that their next meeting, scheduled for June 26, had to be considered a hard deadline for a final resolution with the Polish government.